Dawn Luck of Newborn Future Old Ones.

Dawn looked at Pepper.   Of course she was in labor right in the middle of a meeting.  The whole gasp and grabbing the stomach thing was really telling.  "Okay," Dawn announced.  "This meeting is adjourned for obvious reasons."  People actually dared to glare at her for it.  "People, she's in labor.  Do you really want her to deliver this kid here?"  They shook their heads.  "Then the meeting's adjourned.  JARVIS, please tell Tony to meet us at the front door in a car and with Pepper's delivery bag."

"I'll be okay," Pepper said as she was walked off.  "It'll take hours."

"Not exactly," Dawn said, patting her on the arm.  "You could go in a few hours.  It might take that long to get Tony out of the lab."  She walked her to the elevator and down to the front door.  She was scheduled to deliver in a regular hospital but the infirmary here at the tower was the backup delivery spot.  They got outside, no Tony.  "JARVIS?" she asked her phone.  He was always linked to her phone.

"I cannot get him to wake up.  He's not exactly sleeping but he seems to be frozen."

"Okay, plan B," Dawn decided, taking her back up to the infirmary.  She noticed the cars on the street seemed to have that same frozen quality.  She found the spell in there and countered it, waking up the staff.  "Huge problems in the city, guys.  People are all frozen like you were.  She's in labor and the baby's having Dawn luck."  They nodded and took Pepper to a private room so they could check her over.  Dawn ran up to the labs, finding Tony still frozen.  She got him freed and he blinked at her.  "Pepper's in labor, boss." 

He ran off.  "Infirmary," she yelled after him.  She clocked out and walked outside, looking up then around.  "Yeah, this isn't a good omen for the baby."  She dialed her phone, tapping her earpiece.  "Hey, Big Brother Phil?  Is there something going on magically that no one's told me about?  Because if not, the whole city is presently frozen."  She listened to him check then say 'huh'.  "Okay, well, Pepper's in labor.  I woke up Stark and our infirmary.  I'm headed home to grab some supplies and I'll meet you there."  She hung up and hiked home, planning how to undo this.  If you unfroze the center then they'd crash into the ones that hadn't been unfrozen yet.

She got home and found things still frozen.  A touch got Natasha woken from her nap, and unfrozen, but she was confused.  "Major magical things going on."  She went to change out of her nice business suit and into something more practical.  It was the middle of January, so it was freezing outside, though not snowy for a change.  Just a really bitterly brisk wind and it was fart-freezing cold out there.  So this time a nice turtleneck, long sleeve, full length unitard and a skirt under her chain mail.  She walked out after grabbing a bag full of supplies, heading to figure out what was going on.  She could feel the gathering spot, which was traditionally in the center, so she headed there first.

She found a book.  A glowing book but still just a book.  She read the cover then pulled out something to wrap around it. First silk but that didn't stop the magical gathering problems.  She picked up a stone and did that instead.  She manipulated the stone's matrixes until it wrapped itself around the book.  That worked.  She put it back down and pulled out a few things to sense around them.  Tara came jogging over.  "We have multiple diary looking books that are leaking back to this one," she told her.  "I had to do an earth wrapping.  I'm not sure if there's going to be a difference for the others."

Tara nodded.  "Okay."  She felt the book and stood up, dusting off her hands.  "We can handle that."  She and Dawn felt around.

"Does this mean that you're the apocalypse battle this time?" one of the junior SHIELD agents sneered.  "I knew that magic shit was wrong."

Dawn looked at him.  "No, I'm the first responder so I can get it stopped since you'd be worthless against magic."  She went back to it, frowning.  "Pentagram."  Tara nodded.  They found the last few points by that.  A deeper voice cleared his throat.  "We narrowed a few down to a few blocks," she said, looking at Fury.  "That one's wrapped in stone.  I'm not sure if we can wrap the others in stones as well or if we have to switch to a different element for each one.  Which means that the fire one will be interesting." 

She showed him the map she and Tara had been working from.  "This point is somewhere within three buildings.  There's a magical shop that has some artifacts, a guy who has a pretty good private collection of possessed statues and a few other tiny things, and one that's a working area I'm pretty sure, and probably for someone following a blood magic path.  I've never been in the working area but it gives me the same feeling that I took a cemetery tour in New Orleans and ended up tripping over someone's calling and prayer working area."

Tara pointed.  "That one's shielded.  We can only get it down to a general area."

Dawn nodded.  "I can find that one.  It's in the demon area anyway."  Tara smiled at her.  "They know not to try to attack me.  Buffy's got even worse hormone swings right now."  She looked at Fury.  "This one was under a bridge support.  This one's in the open, so probably floating or on a crystal pile like this one," she said with a point at it.  "The last one's probably within a few feet of a roof.  I felt it in the air, in the open, and in SoHo that means a roof."

"Good," Fury said.  "Get a containment box."

"This one has to be put up last.  The others are leaking to it," Tara said quietly.  "I'm not sure if they won't cause a problem if they can't leak into it.  Something like a backlash."

"Or releasing the people in a few areas that are frozen so they crash into the other frozen people," Dawn said.  She pointed at the cars because Fury looked confused.  "You free the middle ones and they crash, go boom," she said bluntly.  "You free the back ones, they go boom too.  Most people don't have the split second timing to hit the brakes in time and I'm guessing you're going to be disoriented while you're waking up."

"So many major crashes," Tony agreed as he landed.  "Pepper's fine, she told me to come," he said at Dawn's pointed look.

"Why wouldn't she?" Tara asked, looking confused.

Dawn grinned.  "The baby's coming and it already has Dawn luck."

"Oh, no," she muttered, shaking her head.  "We'll work up a warding pattern to put around wherever she'll sleep."  Dawn swatted her.

"Thanks," Tony said, getting swatted too.  "Which one are we taking?"

"This one," Fury said with a point at the one that was in the open.  "Make sure there's nothing happening before you somehow wrap it in something."

"Metal, water, air, fire, or void," Dawn quipped.  "Totally covered, no leaking points," Dawn told Tony, getting a nod and he flew off.  Fury pointed at some agents to follow him.  "I'm heading to the demon area."

"I'm guarding this one to make sure it can't call someone to help it," Tara said quietly.

"Okay."  Dawn jogged off, heading for a bicycle she spotted leaning against a tree.  She'd leave it at a police station or something.  Not like she was going to waste energy teleporting to the demon section halfway across Manhattan.  And hey, no traffic to hit her.  She looked at a bridge she had to ride past, shaking her head since the other half was all honking.  She thought that at Phil, who said he'd send someone to handle it.  She finally made it to the hidden demon section and walked through the gateway, sensing the book.  She headed for the bar, shaking her head as she passed a few unfrozen demons.  "No idea, but we're stopping it."  They groaned. 

"Try to keep it down with everyone else frozen?"  They nodded.  They didn't want blamed for this.  Dawn found the book's location and walked into the bar.  They were all frozen.  She walked around to where the book was sitting on a table looking like a bet in a kitten poker game.  She opened her pack and pulled out what she needed, including gloves.  She pulled them on, then pulled out the pre-cut silk square to wrap it in.  That woke up most everyone.  "Don't," she ordered when one of the demons started to move toward her.  "It's freezing the whole island."  The demonic bouncer backed off.  She sensed then tapped her earbud. 

"We'll have to wrap each on in something different," she told the call-in officer.  "This is Dawn.  Tell Fury each one has to be wrapped in a different element.  I've got this one in water."  She hung up and used her free hand to pull over a jug of holy water that was sitting around as a deterrent.  She manipulated it into a flat sheet in mid-air then put the book carefully on it and bent it around.  She frozen it solid.  "There," she sighed, smiling.  "That should free more of the frozen people."  She looked at the bouncer.  "There's six of these on the island.  We've contained two. The whole island is frozen.  Outside a few demons I walked past on the way here."

The bouncer nodded.  "Okay.  Do we need to help?"

"Just stay calm.  One's down by Blue Moon."  He nodded, walking off calling a bar that succuba and others hung out in over that way.  She looked at the people at the table.  "Did one of you bet this book?"  They shook their heads.  "Any idea how it got here?"

"It splashed down," one said with a small shrug.

"Okay," she said, knowing someone was lying.  "Any idea who did the whole spell thing?  Because Director Fury's really not happy."  They all groaned.  "Neither's Phil.  This is keeping him from helping decorate for the twins' birthday tomorrow."

"They're three?" the dealer asked.

"Just now three but their party's tomorrow due to work things."  That got a nod of understanding.  "They still don't babble like most kids.  They talk but they're quiet.  Which is really kinda nice."  They grinned.  "Okay, let us know, people."  She walked out with the book, putting it into her pack.  She found a demon gang out there.  "Guys, I'm just handling a problem," she noted.  "One affecting normals."

"You're not one of us," the demon gang leader sneered.

"No, I'm not a Krasithk demon," she said dryly.  "I'm a Dawn."  They sneered and moved closer.  She pulled up magic and a few fled.  The rest attacked so she pulled out her sickles and defended until the last few were there.  She pushed back her hair.  "You feel better now?"  The leader was backing away.  She pulled in her glowing and grinned.  "Don't worry.  I don't tell my sister about these things so she won't come stomp on you because of her hormone swings.  I'm not a nark that way unless you guys are hurting humanity.  Are you?"

"Just you," he sneered.

Dawn stared at her.  "I don't hurt people unless they make me hurt them."  The demon shuddered.  "Who said otherwise?"

"Everyone!" he sneered.

"Excuse me?  I may be a witch but not that sort."  She stared at him.  "I've never been that sort.  Mom and Buffy would've killed me if I became that sort."

The leader flinched.  "You're that witch?"

"Um, yeah.  Which witch did you think I was?"

"The one that set the books."

"Which would be?  I'd like to talk to the stupid bitch.  I'm supposed to be guarding my boss while she's in labor, not picking up after her mess."

"That socialite dumb bitch."

"Oh, her," she sighed.  "Yeah, we're going to have words.  I had plans of that later actually.  Guess it'll be now."  She smiled.  "Thank you for that information.  Let me finish cleaning up her crap."  She walked off, calling in.  "Connect me to Agent Coulson or Fury directly," she ordered.  "This is Summers and I know who's doing it.  Now fucking connect me or become something cute and cuddly!"  They connected her.  "Your call-in people are fucking morons today, Fury.  That dumb society cunt is doing it.  Yup, her.  They thought I was so a demon gang attacked.  The leader told me she did it when I explained I'm Dawn and not her.  No clue.  Probably somewhere high rent.  I was going to look her up later and warn her to get out of my city.  Thanks."  She hung up, walking over to the SHIELD agent waiting on her.  She looked at him.  "ID?"  He flashed it.  "Good enough.  Right to the park where Tara is."  She handed over the book.  "Don't let it melt.  It shouldn't but...."

He nodded.  "Understood, Summers.  The others?"

"We'll have to wrap each one separately.  If they grab them, bring them to Tara or I and we can do that."  He nodded, getting in to drive off, mostly on the sidewalks so he didn't hit the frozen cars.  Dawn shivered but checked.  The one under the bridge had her mates handling it.  Stark was in the open with that one.  The other two had regular agents but Phil was handling the one at the magic shop.  She went to help Stark.  It was closest.  The book had called up guardians in the form of what looked like miniature trolls.  She blasted them back into magical oblivion. 

The book wobbled and she grabbed it.  It burned but yay.  She still had on the gloves.  She pulled out what she needed and wrapped it up.  Suddenly the battle was over with.  She looked at her boss, holding it up.  "Wrapped in steel.  I might have to rewrap it later."  He nodded, taking it and putting it inside his suit's carrying pocket.  "Back to Tara."  He flew off.  "Guys, go help either Coulson or Barton and Romanoff at the bridge.  I'm heading to SoHo.  It's the next closest one."  They fled and she pulled back in her glow. 

"Why am I going full on glow?" she muttered as she walked.  She felt around for dangers.  She found one and flashed out of the way, heading up behind the sniper to take her down.  "Oh, great," she said.  "The debutante assassin idiot."  She kicked her around because the young socialite was very bad at fighting.  She finally got her down and took her to Fury with her gun.  "Found her unfrozen and on top of something."  She handed the gun to Tara, who handed it to Maria with a grimace.

"Why give her to us?" Fury complained.

"That's Julia Shandy, Fury.  The debutante assassin bitch that got outed the other day.  I figured you could probably handle her."  She walked off shaking her head.  "Tara, who has what?"

"They could use some help at the bridge I think."

"No, go help SoHo," Fury ordered.  "I've got the minor witch we found in the ranks with them."

Dawn nodded.  "Okay."  She strolled off.  She was still glowing.  "Let me guess," she told herself.  "We're welcoming the new one?  Because right now we need to be less glowy and less of a target."  It faded and she found a ride to SoHo with the agents waiting around guarding the park.  The team was trying to fight the creatures the book had summoned, this time flying harpy looking things.  She looked up to check above her then moved away from the car under the book. 

She summoned it down to her.  The harpies focused on her and the agents shot them to keep them off her while she worked.  This one got surrounded by air.  Suddenly the harpies were gone and she had to shield against a few gunshots.  "Thanks, guys, really."  They slowly put up their guns.  "Report to the park for Fury to give you clean up orders."  They nodded.  She got back into the car with the agent, having to take down her shield to do that.  "Ever get the feeling that you're surrounded by idiots?" she asked him.

He laughed.  "Yes, especially on the trainee floor."

She nodded.  "Were they?"  He nodded.  "Figures.  Most of you older agents can stop firing when things disappear."  He smirked.  "The wrecks are going to be horrible if they don't clean up from the outer edges first."

"We'll do what we can, same as always, Summers.  Who was that woman you brought to Fury?"

"Julia Shandy."

He shuddered.  "Yuck.  That's a nasty bit of hell."

"She's not all that good at anything she does.  Maybe he can have her put somewhere useful."  She shrugged.  "What sort of assassin doesn't wear at least some underwear sometimes?"

He laughed.  "She's a debutante first and it shows."

"Well, at least she now has something else to be famous for beyond her lack of panties and a few sex tapes."  The agent was still laughing.  "By the way, Pepper's in labor."

"So this is because of that one being born?" he quipped.

"Damn I hope not.  That should only happen to my future kids."  He nodded smugly.  She winced when she felt Natasha fall.  "Ow."  She rubbed her head, keeping her calm.  They got her out of the frigid water and she sent warm thoughts to calm her down.  Clint got the book and asked for advice.  She told him to tell the witch what she had wrapped the others in.  She got that one wrapped in something and she agreed they could fix it later if they had to.  To help Natasha get warm for her.  She disconnected and felt it when Phil got his. 

"Park.  They've got the others.  They quit flashing," she said quietly.  He nodded, taking her back there.  She and Tara got the different books laid out properly to adjust the bindings for anything that was still leaking.  Tara had to pull up the void one and wrap it back on itself so it couldn't spread.  Dawn got the others sealed then into the box someone was arranging with foam cutout spots.  Dawn stared.  "They weren't in the right spots for it to work.  That's probably what froze everyone."  She rearranged it and the magic flashed out.  Everyone was still frozen.  "Go wake them up from the outer edge," she told them.

Fury sent out teams of agents with air horns to wake people up.

Dawn and Tara sealed the box then handed it to the guy waiting with the large iron box.  "Sink it," Tara said quietly.  "Deep where no one can find it."

The agent nodded.  "We have a special vault set up for magical and mystical artifact holding, Tara."  He let Fury lock it with his special code then carried it off with help from his partner.

Dawn looked at Clint.  "She okay?"

"She's fine.  Bit cold.  Back at Stark's infirmary."

"That reminds me, Pepper's in labor."  She smiled and disappeared.

Clint smirked.  "The baby will have Dawn luck apparently," he quipped, walking off.  "Stark?"

"Heading back.  I'm not giving rides though."  He flew off.  "Later, people."

"Going to help guard the future hellion," Clint noted.

"Reports," Fury ordered.  They all nodded and he got a cab that had just been freed to HQ.  Fury groaned, looking around.  "Tara, any other clean up?"

"Probably not."  She plucked up the small bits of crystal that book had been sitting on.  "We can clean these."  She walked off with Maria talking about the birthday party.  Phil joined them to see what he needed to pick up.

Fury shook his head, looking at the person his agents had in holding.  "Whatever," he decided.

"That's usually her sort of line, sir," one of the junior agents quipped.  Fury glared.  "Sorry, sir."  He ducked his head.

"Thankfully I'm not an airhead socialite."  He walked off.  "Take her back to HQ to interrogate her."  The agents with her nodded, walking her off.  "And her shitty rifle since it sucks.  She clearly got minimal training."

"We'll search her hotel room," one of them said.  "That way if she's got one of her pets with her they're not going to die from neglect.  Just boredom."

"Fine.  Have Joyce handle them for tonight."  He nodded and found her keys after frisking her.  "If her cohort the witch is in, Summers said to run her off.  She was going to later but I guess she'll be a bit busy."  He walked off shaking his head.  Someone was going to be calling soon to bitch about all this.  He'd better have an explanation ready that calmed them down.  Socialite witches and assassins weren't a great one that wouldn't cause a stroke.


Joyce was handed the little bag of dogs.  She looked inside then at the agent, giving him an odd look.  "Am I adopting?"

"Their human just got picked up as a sniper," the agent said dryly.  "She's a *socialite*."

"That explains why're they're all tiny dogs."  She sighed and put them on the desk.  "How long am I babysitting them for and do they have any special needs?"

"I think they're just dogs, Mrs. Banner."

She smiled.  "I still usually go by Summers.  It makes him blush if I don't."  He grinned and walked off.

Clint came off the elevator.  "Hey, Mom."  He looked in the bag.  "Great, smaller and more dumb than the cat."

She swatted him.  "You can let the twins play with the cat to entertain him."

"No we can't.  He runs like hell from the twins."  He smirked.  "I'm moving his cat habitat to the spare bedroom.  He's been staring again and it's getting creepy.  I'd make Stark take him for the sprout but he won't leave the mice alone."  He shrugged.  "I'm supposed to be picking up Dawn here?"

"I think she's back at the tower with Pepper."

"She just texted to say she was here."

Dawn popped in and waved at the dogs.  "At least my mom has a bigger vocabulary than you guys do, unlike your human."  She took Clint with her back to the Stark infirmary.  She pointed.  "She's cold and I'm guarding Pepper and the baby.  Stark's panicking hard."

"I would too," he admitted, going to check on Natasha, who was still chilled.  He climbed up next to her, letting her rest against his side.  "Better than a heating pad any day," he quipped with a grin.

"You are nicely warm," she agreed.  She snuggled against his side.  "Your ropes aren't tight enough."

"That was the new arrow.  I'll tighten the tension on them."  She nodded.  "Why are we guarding the baby?"

"In case it keeps having Dawn luck."

"Oh, that reason."  He nodded.  That made sense with how the baby had been made.  Dawn came back blushing.  "Bad?" he asked.

"Slightly naked issues.  The baby's glowing."  She took a kiss from each of them then got something and walked back in there.  "Here," she said, kicking the door shut.  It bounced slightly open again.

"Dawn, you can probably take off the chainmail," Tony complained.

"Shut up!"

"Yes, Pepper."

"Dawn, chainmail is not good for babies," Pepper complained.

The sound of a kiss on the head.  "Quit fussing at me.  If something comes to try to herald the birth I'll need it."

"Fine.  Thank you for the kiss on my hair.  Where's my mother?"

"On her way," Tony said.  "I sent the plane for her earlier.  They should be picking her up in a few minutes if they can and then flying back.  She'll be here by tonight."

"Owowowowowowowowowowow!" Pepper complained.  "Damn it!" she shouted.  "Kid, stop that shit!"

Clint and Natasha winced.  Pepper didn't usually swear.

"Can't she have painkillers?" Tony begged.

"She didn't want any."

"I was a dumb bitch!" Pepper shouted.  "I want drugs!"

"Let me get you some," the nurse said then came out of the room smiling slightly.  The doctor pulled some out for her.  "IV?"

"Please."  She checked on Natasha, who was seeming warmer by her temperature.  "Good."  She walked in there and closed the door then came backing out.  "I have no idea what that is.  I'm not an OB and that's not standard in any birth room that I've seen."

Dawn came out and got something from Clint then went back in and stabbed it.  She tossed it into the hallway.  "Goblin."  She cleaned the knife off on her skirt and handed it back before going in there.  "See, good reason for the chainmail, Pepper."  Pepper was crying so she and Tony hugged her.

The doctor went back in there once security came to get the body.  This was not what she expected from a normal birth.  Goblins didn't usually show up for those.

Clint and Natasha shared a look.  Clint took Natasha's weapons from the table to clean for her since she was still shaking from the cold dip in the Hudson river.  They might need them.  He checked his own too, getting the guards to get him the spare ammo from Dawn's desk that she kept for their guns.  Natasha had them layer a few guards outside the infirmary and by the entrances just in case.  They settled in to wait.

Around midnight they heard screaming and both winced.  Pepper was not in a good mood now.  Clearly it was time.  Her mother was rushed in when she got there and helped calm her down.  Dawn and Tony were helping.  Tony got to cut the cord and they heard a scream of outrage from the baby.

Dawn came out holding the glowy ball.  She put it on Natasha's and Clint's laps while she did the protections around it.  It turned back into a fussing, wiggling, slimy baby.  "I told you to quit doing that," she said quietly, then picked up some oil she had pulled out of her bag to do protections on the baby's stomach.  "There, that should stop that."  She picked her up to look at her.  "Hi.  You better now?"  She fussed.  "C'mon then, let's go see Mom and Grandma and Uncle Tony."  She walked her back in there, letting Grandma take her to wrap up and diaper.  "It should make sure she can't do that again, Pepper."

"Thank you, Dawn."  She yawned and took the baby to cuddle.  "Hi, Elizabeth."  The baby fussed so she looked at her chest.  "How do I do this?"  The nurse moved to help her get into proper breastfeeding position.  The baby got happier and fell asleep sucking.  Dawn and Tony left her and her mom alone, flopping down outside the room.

"At least there wasn't an attack," Clint quipped.

Tony snorted.  "They stopped three press people who tried to get in to see her in labor," he said.  "The guards also stopped someone from that stupid church who wanted to break in and get Dawn."  Dawn nodded at that.  "Thanks, guys."

"Welcome," Natasha said quietly.  "Is the baby healthy?"

"Yup," Dawn said with a grin.  "Just a mite cranky."  She looked at Tony.  "Is she doing a christening?"

"Next week."

"Okay, I can make sure of that.  Let me change her schedule to out for maternity leave for a month."  She pulled out her tablet to do that and nodded.  "That means you have to do the meeting for the new jet."  She did that.  "And the new building that same day."  She synched their systems then leaned into the room.  "You're all set for a month off, Pepper."

"Thank you, Dawn."

Dawn grinned.  "You two need time to bond before you start bringing her to work."  She pulled back to look at her boss again.  "Go tell the niece?"

"She knows," Tony assured her.  "She's probably bugged all the guards to get information if she hasn't monopolized JARVIS all night to get updates."

JARVIS cleared his throat.  "She felt the baby coming and the magic gathering around to protect the child.  She's still sitting on her bed chewing on her bottom lip and staring at the windows."

"Let her come down," Dawn said.

"I can do so," the AI said. 

A few minutes later an Iron Man pajama wearing mini Stark ran in to pounce her father for a kiss on the cheek then ran in to see her new sibling.  "Hi, baby," she cooed, touching her foot.  "You're so great.  You'll be like my sister and we'll be great friends."  The baby yawned and kept sleeping.  She looked at Pepper.  "Are you okay?  Jonathan said labor could take a really long time and hurt a lot."

"I'm fine, Callia."  She grinned.  "We're both okay."  Callia snuggled into her side, helping by patting the baby.  "She's been named Elizabeth."

"That's a pretty name."  She kissed her aunty on the cheek.  "You stay on the spare bed for a few days?"

"I'm going to go home tomorrow."

Callia snorted.  "Your block has no heat or water.  Water line ruptured earlier."  She grinned.  "News people said so."  She wouldn't mention that her mouse-people friends might've had something to do with that.  Starks were sneaky.

"Great," she complained.  "Then I can stay on the couch until it's fixed."  Callia hugged her and helped her take care of the baby.  "Some day, when you're an adult and have a job, all that adult stuff, you can have one too," she assured her with a smile.

"I will.  I'll have a baby by so he can have the suit."  She kissed her on the cheek again then snuggled in.  "Why is Auntie Natasha in a bed?"

"I think she fell into the river."

Callia looked up at her.  "She's not going to glow, right?  People say there's all sorts of toxic stuff in there."

"No, she won't be glowing."

"Good!"  She covered them all and fell asleep there on her almost-stepmom's shoulder.  One hand was on the baby's foot so she made sure the new kid was all right.

Pepper smiled, petting over Callia's hair.  "It's good that you're not jealous," she said quietly.  Tony looked in then got up and walked in.  "If you move her she'll wake up."

"I know."  He patted her on the hand first, which woke Callia enough not to fight back.  He picked her up and looked at her.  "You're too big to sleep with the baby and she's going to the bassinet soon," he said quietly.  "Let's let Auntie Pepper sleep. Having a baby is hard work."  He carried her back to her bed, tucking her back in.  He made sure she had her stuffed penguin and zebra then went back down there.  Steve had shown up looking like he had napped most of the afternoon.  He still looked half-asleep. 

Tony looked at the bassinet, moving stuff out of it then putting the baby in it and moving it next to Mom's bed.  Dawn came in to help him set things up for Pepper for the next few days.  Then they left her to sleep it off.  Steve grinned and went up to the penthouse to go back to bed.  Tony followed.  Dawn got the unusual spot of watching her injured lover rest in the hospital bed this time.  Usually it was her in there instead of Natasha.  Clint smirked.  She grinned back and put her feet up.  The nurse handed her a blanket and pillow and it was good.  They could handle it for tonight.


Clint flinched awake, noticing it was the middle of the night and something was screaming hard.  He got up and checked.  Pepper had slept through the baby waking up.  Must've been great drugs with how loud she was.  Pepper's mom wasn't around.  Dawn was still conked out so he went to check on her.  "Hey," he said quietly, staring at her.  "What's wrong?"  He picked her up and she quit fussing as much.  He did what the girls did, putting the baby on his shoulder and patting gently on the back.  The baby calmed down and nuzzled.  "That doesn't feed you, kid.  Sorry.  I'm many things but not a teat."  He heard a quiet laugh and looked at Pepper.  "You slept through the screaming."

"I can do that when the meds are too strong."  She held out her hands.  He handed her the baby and she smiled.  "Thanks."

"Not a problem."  He grinned and went to check on the girls.  They were both heavily asleep.  Natasha was finally warm again so he put Dawn into the bed and let her snuggle while he got the chair.  Though something was really wrong.  The air felt wrong somehow.  He got up to check.  Frozen people.  Nudging didn't work.  He looked in there then at the hallway.  "Huh."  He strolled off.  Dawn had told them who the witch was in case they had run into her.  She was trying to get in with the new sniper that had been found.  He shot them both in the back, non-fatally because that way someone else could have fun. 

That made the spell end and he smirked at them.  "Hi, ladies, and I use the term loosely with you two."  He stared at them.  They were crying.  "Good."  He found his phone and called it in.  "It's Barton.  I'm at Stark Tower.  That sniper and her witchy friend are here causing problems but now bleeding on the sidewalk.  Come get them."  He hung up.  "So, why the freezing spell again?" he asked the witch.

"You're nothing," she sneered.

"No, I'm an Avenger," he sneered back.  "You're nothing but a media whore."  She huffed.  A police cruiser pulled up and he looked back.  "SHIELD."

"Figured with where we're in front of, sir, and saw you on the news.  Who're they?"

"Society sluts with ideas of being grander than they are," he said dryly.  "One's a witch that caused problems earlier and the other's a sniper wannabe.  They found her earlier on top of a building during the problem."

"Interesting."  A dark SUV pulled up and parked and Coulson got out.  "Sir."

"Hey, Coulson.  On tonight?"

"Yes.  How's Elizabeth?"

"Having a mom snack."  He smirked.  "Pepper slept through the fussing."

"Tara did for the first two nights.  Thankfully I didn't sleep at all for about four days worrying about them."  He looked at them.  "She had her buddy get her free of us earlier."  He examined the wounds.  "Nice, Barton.  Non-fatal, non-paralyzing, but too painful for them to do anything."

"Dawn didn't wake up when she got moved."

"No wonder."  He snapped and the junior agents got them loaded into the trunk area of the SUV.  "Thank you, Officer."

"Not a problem, sir."  He walked off to make a report to his boss.

Coulson looked at his sniper.  "Anything else to report?"

"Natasha's finally warm."

"That's good."  He got in to drive them back.  He wanted to have a talk with them.  Poser society brats that they were, he'd have to use tiny words.

Clint went back inside, nodding at the security guys.

"Can you guys finish moving Dawn's stuff this weekend?" one asked him.

"I thought we got it all."

"All but the artwork," he said.  "We don't want it to be a target, sir."

"I'll remind her tomorrow."  They grinned and let him go back to the infirmary.  Dawn was yawning but getting more cuddly.  That was about normal for when you woke her up without an emergency.  The baby was fussy so he glanced in there.  Pepper was changing sides and he did not want to see her nurse.  He thought it was great she was breastfeeding, and would beat the shit out of anyone that tried to nag her about doing it in public, but he didn't want to watch.  He was not a Stark.  Callia had snuck back down and was staring from the corner.  Tony probably had the security footage up on his phone or something he was working on.  He went back to his seat so he could make sure nothing else happened.


Dawn walked into SHIELD the next morning with a bag held out at arm's length.  The guards gave her a dirty look.  "Dude, someone sent this to Pepper as a baby present."  She let them see it.  "They're getting it back."  She held up the card.

One of the guards signed her in and checked.  "Gym, trainee level, Summers."

"Thanks."  She carried it up there and walked into the gym.  Most of the agents in training paused.  She found the one she wanted and handed the bag over then stepped back.  "Stark said that's in poor taste and he's going to kick your ass because his daughter helped by opening it.  Apparently he didn't think she needed to see the male nursing bib with realistic, leaking-bottle breasts or the blow up doll, or the vibrator in the bottom." 

She gave him a pointed look.  "He also said that if he can't beat your ass, I can beat your ass."  He snorted and she decked him, knocking him down.  She smiled.  "Which is why you'll never pass Xander's obstacle course.  I can do it and I'm a fucking assistant.  You're....  Really not healthy."  She walked off shaking her head.  "You have a better day, dude, and leave Pepper alone.  She's still got hormone swings."  She went back to the tower shaking her head all the way down to the car.

Coulson walked in and looked in the bag then at the agent in training.  "We have very tight ties to Stark since he's an Avenger and he's already called *twice* to complain about that and his daughter seeing that.  Director Fury would like to talk to you about why he had to listen to Stark rant.  Let's go."  The agent groaned but got up.  Coulson kindly took the present bag with him.  He handed it to the director and left.

Fury looked in there.  "I didn't know they made fake tits that let men nurse."  He looked at him.  "I doubt she needs the other things either with how much attention she gets when she wants it.  So let's talk about why you thought a blow up doll and a vibrator were appropriate presents to send our adjunct members."

Agent Hill walked past and nicely shut the door, shaking her head when Joyce looked over.  "The nursing bib is a nice present."

She smiled.  "I'd let Bruce have one if it was ours."  Maria smiled back and went back to her desk.  She saw someone coming off the elevator.  "Good morning, Captain."

"Good morning, Joyce, and I said to call me Steve."  He grinned and walked into the office.  He hit the agent in training and grinned at him.  "Leave.  Pepper.  Alone."  He walked off happier.  "Agent Hill, Tara's at the tower with Pepper for a bit.  The twins wanted to meet Elizabeth."  He handed over cards.  "Her christening next week."  He left, going back there.

Fury walked out.  "He's going to need a medical escort.  Boy's got a glass jaw.  Any idea why Captain Rogers just went alpha male?"

She smiled.  "Well, there are the rumors of him and Stark, sir," she said quietly.

He shook his head.  "I doubt that."

Joyce grinned.  "I wouldn't put money on that."  Fury stared at her.  She grinned as she called for a medical escort for the idiot.  "We have someone who just met Captain Rogers' fist because he was an imbecile.  He's on the director's floor.  Thank you."  She hung up.  "They'll be right up, sir."

"Thanks."  He looked at his second-in-command, who just shrugged but was smiling.  "That's going to be a PR nightmare," he muttered, walking off.

"Most of us don't care about press relations," Joyce quipped.  "That's for those who like to suck up, like the ones that are in interrogation."  She finished the background check on where the socialite airhead had learned how to shoot like a sniper.  She walked it in there.  "This school," she said with a point at the history portion of the check.  "Apparently teaches it.  They're listed on a few more covert areas as being a training ground for mediocre level assassins."

He looked then at her.  "It's a prep school, Summers."

"Apparently not just that."  She smiled and handed over what she had found and copied down.  "Them?"

He read it over and shook his head.  "Someone is stupid to even attempt to teach socialites how to fire a gun."

"They do get kidnaped," she said dryly.  "They'll never be Dawn's level but they do get stalkers and things."

"Uh-huh."  He dropped it and shook his head.  "I'll have someone check on their teaching methods.  Have Hill correlate where she's been and possible hits."

"Maria, do you have that correlation done?" she called.

"Almost.  I'm up to the last year she's been out and about."  She walked her tablet in there, letting him see it.  "If we're right, she was responsible for about ten hits in the last two years since she graduated high school, sir."  She looked at the papers Joyce had copied down, nodding some.  "That one's an ineffectual one but he's done it for years," she said with a point.

"Do we think they have more socialite bimbos with guns and dreams of being assassins?" he asked them.

They shrugged.  "No idea.  Ask someone who lives in that lifestyle," Joyce said, dialing Stark's number.  "Tony, Joyce.  The director wanted to have a slight talk about any other socialite assassins we might have out there.  No, her prep school has someone who teaches them.  Exactly."  She smiled.  "I know, and she's not very good with the way that Dawn and Clint both took her down so easily.  Thank you, Tony, and try to get some rest between feedings."  She hung up.  "He'll be over later, Director.  The baby just woke up."  She strolled off.

Maria smiled.  "Callia must be going nuts with the new baby to fuss over."

Fury shook his head.  "Make the bimbo want to give up and have her handed to the FBI," he said.  "Before we have to deal with her some more."

"I can do that."  She walked off with the notes and her tablet to talk to their liaison.  The FBI would not be amused by bimbo assassins either she was sure.

Fury went to find the headache pill stash.  Joyce scheduled him for a medical check behind his back but he knew she was a bit paranoid about routine headaches, even if his were caused by a more insidious cause than a tumor - stupidity.


Bruce got home from the conference Rodney McKay had talked him into going to, finding five yappy things staring at him as he walked into their apartment.  He stared.  Then he shook his head because the dogs weren't sitting in a pattern, right?  He had to be tired.   He called Joyce's desk.  "Joyce, why do we have yappy dogs?  Did Dawn switch from mice to them?"  He listened.  "Bimbo assassin," he said dryly.  "Why?" he moaned.  He nodded.  "I'll bring them to the office."  He hung up and gathered them and their food, taking them back there.  He handed them to his wife with a smile.  "We have a no pets clause."

"I forgot about that.  Maybe Dawn...."

"Don't even suggest the twins," Maria said patiently from her desk.  "We have a cat.  I trip over her quite often enough.  Thank you."

"Hellion, Garnet, and the puppies would probably consider them interactive toys," Bruce said, walking off shaking his head.  "I wouldn't mind a dog but it'd have to be real human sized, not a miniature anything please."  He could get the Other Guy used to a pet.  It might be easy enough.  Callia had introduced him to her bunny Carrot and the Other Guy seemed to like Carrot for some reason.  He had made sure she didn't have him the last time he had seen her.

She smiled.  "I'll check with the landlord since we have to redo the lease by next month, Bruce."  He smiled back and went down to R&D to see what they were doing.  She looked at the dogs staring at her, putting down some food and getting them some water from the fountain.  They sniffed it and huffed.  "I don't give animals bottled water unless it's undrinkable.  We all drink from the fountain and it's filtered, dogs."  They ate and went to take over the office.

"Summers, come get these little snacks before I ask Alexander if his war dogs are hungry."

"Sorry, sir."  She came in to get the dogs, closing the office door once they were all out of there.  "Sit, there," she said with a point, moving their dishes that way.  She even let them have her jacket to nap on for a bit.

Stark came out of the elevator an hour later with Callia, who was bouncy and happy.  Callia spotted the dogs.  "Awww, they're tiny doggies, Daddy."

"They belong to the socialite we picked up for being a sniper," Joyce quipped.

"Which one?" Tony asked.  Joyce handed over the background check.  "She's got a boyfriend.  I'll call someone in LA to talk to him."  He pulled out his phone to call a contact out there.  "Pearl, Tony Stark.  Julia Shandy just got arrested by SHIELD and she's got five of her herd of miniature creatures with her.  They're pissing off the agents.  Can you tell her boyfriend or someone to call me so they can get them?  Thanks."  He hung up.  "No, Callia.  You cannot keep her dogs.  If you want a dog, when you're older, we'll talk to your Uncle Xander about one of his puppies."  She bounced around and cheered.  "Let's talk to the director."

"Then can get Auntie Pepper lunchies and the baby pretty things?"

"We can do that on the way home.  Pepper wanted something from the chinese place up the street from her apartment."  He walked her in there and let her carry the dogs back out of the office.  Agent Hill got them into the shade since apparently they weren't used to sleeping in the sunny, warm spot on the floor.  Not even his daughter's spoiled rabbit was that spoiled.


Dawn came off the elevator from her lab rounds to find someone waiting at her desk.  "Do I know you?" she asked him.

He spun, looking at her.  "You should."

Dawn stared at him.  "Why?  Are you supposedly famous?"  The guy glared.  She stared back.  "I'm probably worth more than you are so why are you here?"  She smiled.  "Pepper's on maternity leave so we've canceled all meetings and I've also cleared Mr. Stark's personal calendar today."

"Tony Stark called for me to show up."

"Let me call him."  She moved him away from her desk and her dish of peppermint candy.  "That's for people who need breath help before a meeting."  She dialed Tony's phone.  "Stark, Dawn.  I have a young guy here who thinks I should know him who said you called for him?"  She put him on speaker.

"Which one?" Tony asked.

"You called for me to come pick up my girlfriend's dogs.  Though I'm not sure why SHIELD has her."

"We're at SHIELD's HQ.  Dawn, get him here."  He hung up.

"Okay," she said, hanging up and locking her desk.  She called.  "Happy, can you please get my car?  Taking someone Stark called to HQ.  Thanks."  She hung up.  "It'll be down front in a few minutes.  Let's go."  She grabbed her jacket and wallet, walking out with him in front.  That way she could kill him if he gave her shit.  PMS was really only to make the men in the world stay in line, she was convinced of it.  Her car service had been called and one was pulling up.  She opened the door and let him get in first.  "Hi, Howie.  We're going to HQ.  Stark called for him."

"Sure, thing, Miss Summers."  He drove off.  "How's your sister doing?"

"She's still fighting the early labor thing.  She started again last night.  Hylal's seriously worried.  His first wife died delivering his first daughter early, and she died within a day of her mom."

"That sucks, yeah."  He glanced back when they got to a red light.  "Anything new going on that might hint at an update for that software problem on the tablet?"

"Tony said that's their software's issue.  He said they haven't updated it in over a year so it's not running anything more current.  He said it's like running a Windows 95 program on XP.  He's working on a program to make it compatible but we're not sure how or if that company is going to suddenly get their shit together.  The other tablets have the same problem with it."

He nodded.  "I saw that.  I was hoping."

She smiled.  "He said he didn't realize or he would've done that sooner and it's an almost obsolete program outside the people who presently cling to it, to quote him.  He can't find a newer one to do the same thing though.  He hates old software."

"I can see that point but sometimes it's comfortable and better than the new, bloated things."

"It can be, yeah.  I hate Office so hard sometimes.  Especially the new upgraded version."  He laughed.  "I'll ask him about that later but he's not really doing much this week.  Pepper just delivered late last night."

"Aww.  They good?"

"Just fine and really healthy."  She smiled.  "Elizabeth has already been cooed over by almost everyone we know."  He grinned as he pulled up in front of the building.  "Thanks, Howie."

"Need me to wait?"

"No, I'll have lunch with Mom and then head back.  Have a good day."

"You too, Miss Summers."  They got out and he drove off.  She was such a nice girl most of the time.  Even if she did swear a bit.

Dawn walked him inside.  "Stark called for him to pick up the dogs."

"Please, before they get adopted.  Most agents aren't really into purse dogs," one of the guards complained.

Dawn grinned.  "Callia likes the warpuppies."  They grinned back and let them up there.  She walked him off the elevator.  The dogs ran over to bark at them.  She carefully stepped over them.  "Tony called him, Mom."

"That's fine, dear."  She got the food and water dishes, putting them into the carrier and handing them to him.  "Here you go, sir.  I babysat them last night.  They had a good nap on my couch."

"They have dog beds at home," he said, staring at them.  "Why is your mother in custody?"

"Because I found her trying to assassinate someone during a problem her best friend had caused," Dawn quipped.  "You should be damn lucky she's still alive with the way it looked like she was targeting me."  He gave her a funny look.  She smiled sweetly back.  "I'm more than a hot body and great assistant skills."  She walked off and knocked on the door.  "Him, boss?"

Tony leaned back to look.  "Yeah, him.  Harvin, take her dogs home.  She's not coming out of custody anytime soon."  He shut the door.  "Have a good lunch with your mom, Dawn."

"Thanks, boss."  She grinned at her Mom.  "Here?  Tea shop?"

"Here.  We're a bit busy after yesterday."

"Sure, I remember those days."  They stared at the young idiot socialite until he packed up the yappy things and left with them.  "I'm so glad I never turned into one of them," she said quietly.

"Me too," Joyce assured her, patting her on the arm.  "You have a lot more sense than that, Dawn."  She took her to lunch in the caf.  They needed to plan the spring shopping trips.

Maria Hill nodded.  "She would've driven us nuts too."  Tara came off the elevator and Maria smiled at her pretty new dress.  "You actually got the kids to shop with you?"

Tara grinned and nodded.  "Melissa thought I looked beautiful."  She handed a bag.  "Lunch?"

"I could eat."  She took her down to the caf to eat with her.  Tara was sighing in happiness over the new baby.  Maria was thinking hard about the new baby and Tara maybe having one.  They'd have to talk.


Fury called in his two best handlers a few days later, staring at them.  "The FBI doesn't want her and claims since we have custody of her then we should probably keep her and train her somehow."

"Who?" Natasha asked.

"The bimbo, sir?" Clint demanded.

"Yup."  He looked at them.  "I'm pretty sure you two can handle her."

"Um, no," Clint said.  "I don't want to be anywhere near her.  I'd like to put her out of the world's misery but I'm not taking her home with us, sir.   Dawn might get a bit pissed off."

"You're agents of this agency and it's now your duty to make sure that she's kept in check."

Dawn appeared, staring at him.  "Oh hell no.  She's not coming into my house.  She's not coming into my spouse's houses."  Fury glared.  She stared back.  "I will make sure she's not a problem if she gets *anywhere* near my house or anything that's mine."

"Sometimes the job requires them to bend a few rules."

"So does mine," she said bluntly.  "Including when I take the place of Xander's ex."  Fury shuddered.  "She is not coming into my house.  I will kill the bitch.  Immediately.  Before she infects the building's cat with her stupidity."  She walked off growling.

Clint looked at Natasha.  "I think that just put me on the couch for life."

Joyce walked in.  "You're lucky you're still human, dear.  Dawn does remember what I went through."

"It's not going to be like that," Clint said.

"That would be an ideal solution," Fury admitted.

Natasha stared at him.  "Why do you wish us dead from torture?"  Fury shuddered.  "I'm fairly certain whoever this woman is she's not walking into my house either.  As our houses are joined....."  Fury opened his mouth.  She held up her hand.  Then she walked off.  Clint could extricate himself.  She felt at her link with Dawn but all she felt was very white, hot anger.  She winced and headed for the gym.

Clint shook his head.  "No, sir.  I refuse.  I'm not going to ever put myself in that sort of situation, even if it wouldn't mean I'd die by torture or a curse of unluckiness in the field that got me and others killed."  He walked off.

"She wasn't around when you got divorced," Fury told his assistant.

"That doesn't mean she doesn't remember it.  They did give her a full history of the family, Director.  She saw every little bit that happened and she will not tolerate lying in her relationship.  Even the tiny ones that lovers sometimes let slip.  Even 'do I look fat' ones."  She stared at him.  "You're going to be lucky if they're alive in the morning."  She walked off to take a break.  She had no idea how to calm Dawn down.  That was Clint and Natasha's job and she could only worry.

Fury huffed and glared out there.  "Hill, who do we have who can babysit?"

"No one, sir.  Not that's competent and will put up with that level of stupidity.  I would've suggested Coulson but his spouse would not allow it and he would take them out immediately.  Especially after having dated the vengeance demon over women scorned."  Though, personally, she agreed with Dawn.  If either of those bimbos walked into their building they'd be shot on sight.

"Get me one of the single agents who won't have a problem."

"Yes, sir."  She considered it for a moment then called up one.  "The director wants you for a special babysitting assignment.  Oh, I did not know.  I'm sorry for your loss, Agent Patricks.  How long are you on leave for?  I haven't gotten the paperwork yet."  She made a note to look that up.  "I'll talk to him in a few minutes.  Of course you do.  You call me if you need to extend anything."  She hung up and called his boss to ask where the paperwork was.  Apparently the agent's supervisor didn't think his mother's funeral was a good reason to take off.  She'd deal with him in a few.  She got another one sent up.  "Here, sir."  She handed over their folder.

"No male ones?" he asked dryly.

"The one I would've chosen is burying his mother in two days.  His supervisor thought that was a bad thing.  I'm going to discuss that with him in a few minutes."  She walked off to beat his ass.

Fury sighed and found an agent.  It turned out to be the same one and he apologized and made sure he had paperwork coming.  He guessed that female agent would have to do.  Maybe they could become 'besties' to quote the bimbo asking about her friend the witch.


Dawn walked into the senior agent gym.  "I need sparring time," she noted, taking off her jacket and heels.  "You'll do."  The agent she was staring at backed away.  "What?  Scared?" she asked dryly.  "Not like I'm an agent, sweetheart.  Front and fuckin' center, dude."  He moved in with a sigh and attacked, because he knew she didn't like to attack first.  "Geez, how low are agent standards?" she complained, kicking him around.  "Fine, anyone better than this putz?  Clearly he's got issues today."  One slowly raised his hand and she waved.  "C'mon then.  I'm not that patient at the moment."  He nodded and moved closer.  She attacked and he was suddenly praying for mercy.  She could tell.  "Are all you senior agents that woosey?" she demanded.

"Yes, ma'am.  We're taught to only hit the really bad things hard."

"Consider me a really bad thing, because I'm about to curse your whole agency to bad luck.  I'm beating you guys up to try to avoid doing that."  He groaned and fought harder.  Still not very good.  She huffed but he was down within a few minutes.  A few other agents stepped in together, hoping to wear her down.  That was marginally better.

The first agent had heard rumors that if you prayed to Agent Coulson, sometimes his mate heard and came to save you.  He sent up a long, heart-felt prayer to be saved by someone, anyone, especially Agent Coulson or Alexander.

Phil's head slowly came up and he listened to the prayers.  Multiple prayers.  "What did she do this time?" he muttered, getting up and heading to the gym.  He found Clint and Natasha being begged for mercy by some of the agents that looked less than healthy.  "Dawn?" he called.  "An explanation?"

"I'm going to turn into Anya so I'm wearing it out, dear big brother.  You should be proud of me and ashamed of these senior agents."  She kicked one viciously in the stomach and then spun to kick the other one.  "Guys, I'm not even wearing shoes.  I'm not that strong.  Are you really that pathetic?  God damn!  No wonder Tara and I have to step in about every other battle!"  A few growled and attacked harder.  Which made her a happier girl.

Phil looked at Clint and Natasha.  "Do you have an explanation?"

"Director just tried to have us take in the new assassin she found," Clint said.  "Do a permanent watch job on her."

"You're married," Phil noted.  "Did that not occur to him?"

"He was of the opinion that we'd forgive it," Natasha said.  "I might have, knowing the job.  She is not that forgiving."

"No, she never will be on that subject."  He looked over, wincing.  Three of the senior agents were groaning on the mats and the other six in there were trying to get Dawn to wear it out.  "Take right flank," he muttered, pointing.  They nodded and moved in.  Dawn felt them and attacked him.  He worked at containing her, letting her wear herself out against him.  Of course, magic was leaking and he had to contain that.

Natasha tried a grab, it sent her flying into a wall.  Clint tripped her and she stumbled but turned it into a flip and got out of the way then attacked again harder.  He nodded the other agents to clear the room.  They dragged their injured coworkers with them and locked them in there.  Natasha tried to corral her against Clint but Dawn flashed out and attacked again.

"Enough!" Phil said calmly, trying to freeze her.  And he couldn't.  He winced.  That was a bad sign.  He and Natasha got her pinned between them and Clint grabbed her arms and trapped her feet so she couldn't move.  "Thank you for trying to calm down."  He stared at her.  "Now let's talk."

"There is nothing to talk about."

"I turned it down," Clint said.

She looked at him.  "He'll try it again."

"He might but I doubt it."  He stared at her.  "He could also fire me for that."

"Then he'd be in misery for the very short rest of his damn life."  Natasha winced at that.  "No, I'm not the bitch to fuck with today."  She got free and walked off, grabbing her shoes.

"Freeze," Phil commanded, adding power to it when she didn't.  It slowed her down.  He looked at Clint and Natasha then summoned Dawn back.  "Let's talk like adults, Dawn.  Your temper can wait."

"Your temper is out of hand," Natasha agreed.

Dawn looked at her.  "Do some role reversal."

"I thought I was the alpha male," Clint muttered.  She smacked him upside the head then stomped off again.  "Hey!  Get back here!"

"I was taught not to be an abusive spouse so I'm going to find some other method of wearing out my temper before I unintentionally hurt someone."

"Low blow, Princess," Clint growled, glaring at her.

She stared at him.  "Not meant that way.  I'm trying really hard never to cross that line."  She disappeared.

Natasha looked up.  "She's not at the temple.  She's on Atlantis."

Phil called John, who said he'd calm her down, and asked what had happened.  Phil sent over what he knew and John growled and said Fury's days might be numbered.  Phil got him calmed down too.  He sighed and looked at Clint.  "She knows that the...training she received would make her lash out to try to control the anger," he said quietly.  "She's trying very hard not to do so."  Clint nodded, still glaring at the doorway.

"She's acting like a possessive young woman in her first real relationship," Natasha sighed.

"She does tend to get a bit possessive, yes," Phil agreed.  "You're not her first relationship.  She did have some minor dating.  Though, if it was mine, I would've shot the director right then and there."  She stared at him oddly. "Especially with the memories from Joyce's divorce due to cheating."

"This has to be normally raised people things," Clint decided, walking off in another direction.  "Let me talk to her when she's calmed down."

"Let me make sure she hasn't cursed the agency or anyone to misfortune."  Phil sighed as he walked off checking for random spells.  None yet.  That was a good sign.  Though he could feel Tara gathering magic and blocked hers with a warning not to do anything against Fury.  Tara was confused but he told her he had done something stupid again that had upset Dawn.  She shrugged and said she was working on a healing spell with the coven so he let it go.  He walked into the office and called a ball that Xander kept because it lit up around spells, especially curses.  He put it on the desk.  No lights.  He put it behind the desk and a lot of lights.  He worked on the spell, making it go back to the sender.  "Not Dawn.  Interesting."

"What was that?" Fury demanded.

"Curses from the witch we have in custody."  He walked off to talk to her.  She really needed to learn her place in the universe.  He found Xander down there staring at her.  He handed back the ball.  "Thank you for the lending."

"Not a problem, Phil."  He stared at her.

"Who're you?" she sneered.

"This is Alexander, God Protectorate of Humanity," Phil said.  She flinched.  "We just found your curse on the head office.  Not very wise, young lady."  She went back to sneering.  He looked at Xander.  "Can we block it off?"

"Yes, I can.  I looked up how to do it in case Willow came back for a third attempt."  He smacked her across the face and the screaming she did made the nice glow come up.  He smirked evilly.  "There, now you can't do harm."  He looked at Phil.  "What happened?"  He sent it over privately.  Xander nodded and his axe appeared.  "Is he infected with something again?"

"No, probably not."  He took the axe from him.  "He was being expedient."

"He has a whole agency full of single people.  There's no reason to call up one of the six married ones he has," Xander said simply.  He walked off, calling his axe to him.  "I'm going home before they have to appoint a new director due to smiting."  He looked back at his spouse.  "I would not tell my uncle.  He will have a bad reaction and it will require rebuilding probably."  He disappeared.  Maybe he could calm Dawn down before she got offered a different job.

Phil checked the socialite witch and added to the fetters she had on her magic.  "I believe you will not be causing any more problems, young lady."  He walked off, letting the surveillance team have her back.  No one he knew had bad enough taste to want her or the other one.


Tony hit the button on his cellphone, still reading while he was walking between the office and his lab.  "What's wrong?"

"Sir, how do you calm down Miss Summers when she's in a total annihilation fit?" a female voice asked.

Tony paused.  "Why is she in that sort of mood?  Usually it stops with sounding like she's on _Springer_."

"Um, not totally sure but I'm pretty certain her, um, lovers didn't calm her down any and she looked more pissed off afterward.  Is there any way to calm her down?  I don't think even tranquilizers are going to work this time."

"Tell her I want to know what's going on so come report in person.  Immediately."  He hung up and thought at Coulson, getting no answer, not even a text message.  He did it at Xander, who sent a text message saying it was Fury's fault.  "That's not real explanatory," he decided.  He went to the lab, finding Dawn just popping in looking like she had been beating the crap out of someone.  "Sparring?"

"Before I kill someone, or three."  She smiled sweetly.  "I thought I had today off, boss."

"You did until an agent called up to ask me how to calm you down.  What happened?"  He sat on his stool and stared at her.  She huffed but did vent because she knew he'd keep staring at her until she did.  Loudly.  Profanely.  For nearly an hour.  At the end he wasn't sure his ears weren't bruised.  "I've never heard anyone say 'fuck' that many times in under a full 2 hour movie."  She glared and huffed.  "No, stay."  He got up and walked closer.  "He's an idiot."

"Which he?" she asked dryly.

"I'm pretty certain Barton wouldn't do that to you."

"He only gave token protests!"

"He has to worry about his job," Tony reminded her.

"If he takes that assignment, I can have the apartments split again.  I'll pay for it my own damn self."  She got free and disappeared.

Tony called Natasha.  "Okay, what's your side of it?  I just had Dawn in here venting in the most foul language possible and looking like she had pretty well sparred herself into needing to eat and shower."  He listened.  "Huh.  No, she thinks he didn't protest."  He winced at the 'sometimes it is the job'.  "No, it *was* the job, Romanoff.  Because she'll kill you if you cheat on her.  If you're made to cheat on her, like someone drugging you, she'll end them.  Horrifically probably but she will end them.  It's like lying to her.  She's never going to accept that.  Yes, this is a normal person thing.  I'm pretty sure Pepper would've gutted me then and there if Fury had suggested I do that and we're not even together right now, well not really.  I'd hate to see what Steve would do if he had heard."

"He did hear," he said from the doorway.  "He heard what Fury suggested.  He heard Dawn nearly sparred herself into calming down but couldn't, and that she's still fighting the urge to curse everyone in SHIELD."

"No, she'd hit the ones responsible," Tony assured him.  "She has more control than that."  He listened.  "No, one of you go tell Joyce.  Get her to help you calm Dawn down, play mediator.  No, she's entertaining the idea of fixing the house so it's apartments again, Natasha.  So get Joyce on your side.  Have her mediate.  Have her keep Dawn calmer.  She'll listen to her mom.  She'll give you enough time to explain how neither of you had any intention of taking on that assignment.  No, I'm pretty sure if he called you both up he was expecting one of you to do it."  He hung up and groaned, looking at Steve.  "Dawn?"

"Our gym, ripping down my heavy bags."  He leaned against the wall, arms crossed over his chest.  "I would've ripped his head off."

"Me too."  They shared a look.  "Go spar with her?"

"She destroyed three senior agents and injured another six before those two and Phil got her to stop beating people."

"I'll baby any bruises."

Steve smiled.  "I can do that."  He went down there.  "Hey," he said, moving the heavy bag and catching her fist.  "I need to spar."

"I'm not in the right mood for that."

"I know.  I can make sure you can't hurt me."

"Steve, I'm fighting my magic right now.  Okay?  I'd hurt you from across the city."

He smirked.  "No magic.  We can try.  If not, I can call Xander."

She shook her head.  "I nearly decked Phil earlier, Steve.  Thanks, but no.  I don't want to hurt anyone.  That's why I'm trying to calm it down."

He stared at her.  "You can't meditate it away this time."

"I can't get calm enough to even think about meditation.  Much less attempt it."  She walked off.  "Let me hit the steel wall over here so you can have your bag back."

"I can spar."

"I still can't guarantee my magic won't come out and hurt you so therefore no.  Thank you but no.  I don't want to become an evil bitch who hurts people on purpose because I have no control."  She looked at him.  "Since I'm bordering on it, it's best if I don't try to encourage it."

"Then maybe you should try meditating?"

She let out a bitter sounding snort.  "I can't even approach a calmer state, much less that sort of calmer state."  She found the iron wall that Tony used for new repulsor tests and leveled a few magical blows at it then added in a few physical ones.

Steve blinked.  He paged Tony and Bruce.  They could calm her down, or hold her down.  Steve made sure no one else came in when he spotted one of the guards.  Bruce came in first and sighed, walking over.  She ducked and instinctively attacked then groaned and pulled back the magic she had stopped before it hit him.

"Okay," Bruce said.  "Let's talk."


Tony walked in and tossed Bruce something.  "We might have to let you lose it and go all grr monster to quote my daughter.  It might be the only thing that wears her out."

"No, not likely," Dawn said.  Bruce stuck her with the needle while she was paying attention to Tony.  "That probably won't work."   She turned back to the wall to work it out of her system.

Bruce looked at the needle then his watch.  "It works faster on me."

Tony nodded.  "It does.  This might be bad.  Summers, do you need that containment chamber?"

"I don't know," she admitted, kicking the wall extra hard.  "I'm trying really hard not to.  It's not really working.  If I could wear some of this out, I could calm down.  Then I could maybe calm everything else down so maybe I could even meditate or something until I was actually calm.  But it's not working that way."  She put up a shield around herself and let go with some extra power against the wall, then reformed it and did it again.

Tony blinked a few times.  "I didn't think anything would destroy that wall."

Bruce shook his head.  "I have trouble denting it in Other Guy form.  We need to make her a t-shirt with that: magic stronger than a Hulk."  He saw her start to wobble.  Then collapse.  He checked his watch.  So did Tony.  "She lasted three times longer than I ever have."

"She has funny reactions to a lot of things," Steve reminded them.  "How do we remove the shield?"

"No idea," Tony admitted.  "Infirmary?"

"We probably should," Bruce agreed.  Andrew leaned in and gave them a pointed look.  "She was a bit temperish."

"Ya think?" he asked dryly.  "Sensors all over the city went off.  I got three calls from SHIELD agents asking if I was using a lot of magic for some reason."  Tony winced.  "What happened?"

"Fury," Steve said.  "Bad idea from him."

"He seems to have those," he said dryly.

"Can you remove the shields so we can get her on monitoring equipment?" Tony asked him.

"Nope."  He grinned.  "I have very little magic.  Dawn is strong in that Force."  He walked off shaking his head and calling Clint.  Maybe he could help.  Either that or one of the two of them were the problem, he wasn't sure which.  But if they were they deserved the chance to apologize and explain their malfunctions before she killed them.  Or he killed them for her.  He felt it when the heavy magic left the building.  "Huh.  I guess John's got stuff set up out there too."  He shrugged and went back to playing with their Roomba dog.

Tony and Bruce shared a look while Steve sent a text message to Coulson, who sent one back saying she was back on Atlantis somewhere hidden.


John felt Dawn reappear and winced.  She was completely sedated but still glowing.  She was somewhere they hadn't gotten to explore yet.  He looked up at that spire and the windows.  "Why are you in the forming lab we locked off for structural instability?" he demanded quietly.

"Because it lets her hide," Rodney said as he walked behind him.  "Also, probably something with all the iron-like metal up there."

"Could be."  He tried to get up there but she had it shielded.  He summoned both spouses and pointed.  "She's up there.  What the fuck?"

Natasha winced.  That particular look on John's face had ended up in a situation she never wanted to think about again.  It had given her nightmares, and now it was focused on her.  "Fury wanted us to take in some socialite who is an assassin as a permanent babysitting job," she explained.  "Dawn lost her temper."

"I saw some of that earlier and Ronon's getting some stitches."  Clint winced.  "We can't get into that room.  She's got it blocked off."

"We can't even get into her head," Clint complained quietly, glancing around.  "I have no idea.  I protested...."

John held up a hand and created a mirror, showing it to them.  "That's her head earlier when she appeared."

They watched the swearing, muttering, stomping byplay of her mind going around in circles.  "I'd never do that," Clint said.

"Yeah, but she's got that worry thanks to her mom's relationship," John said.  "It's also why she hates being lied to."

"I did protest."

"Okay, saying 'no' isn't much of a protest.  If you had said 'hell no' it might've helped," John said.  "There's times you've got to let it out in the loudest possible voice, Barton.  Trust me.  Women, especially ones that have issues with thinking they're not good enough for you, need to hear that sometimes."

Clint winced.  "I forgot about her self esteem issue," he muttered.  He looked.  "Stairs?  Elevator?  Grappling hook?"

John handed him his bow and quiver once he had pulled it from SHIELD. "If you have one, use it.  That tower's completely sealed off due to structural problems in the center.  It's the old forming lab."

He fired his grappling hook up at the lowest open window and they climbed up it.  The spire wasn't smooth and had plenty of good handholds.  They got into the first open window and found their way to the stairs, then up.  They could feel Dawn.  She was a writhing mass of purple and gray energy that was causing a glow under a sealed door.  Natasha moved ahead to open it.  They were met with the shield.  "How do we get through that?" he asked quietly.

"I don't know," Natasha said, touching it and wincing.  "They sedated her."

"Good!  Before she hurt herself."  He touched it and it nearly burned him, making him wince and shake his hand to cool it off.  They thought at Dawn but her mind was a chaotic wreck.  The links were sealed off with it looked like a rockfall from their side.  He sat down and concentrated.  She had a different sort of link but his was more open than hers was.  He imagined himself in front of the link's cave-like, closed opening.  He could feel the magic on the other side of the rockfall.  He moved forward, thinking that the rocks were intangible.  They weren't and he bounced off them.  He felt a tickle of different power and looked.  Phil.  "Help?" he asked quietly.

"I'll see what I can do.  Tara thinks she's sealed herself off in a semi-permanent way because she's mad at herself and at Fury."

"She was mad at us."

"She's mad at herself for trusting you," Phil corrected.  Clint glared.  "I scanned back.  You did protest.  She didn't see that because she was acting emotionally instead."  He touched the rocks and they fell.  "I can't get the shield to go down and it might take her waking up.  Stark used the Hulk tranq and he said it didn't effect her for a while."

"Good to know.  Thanks."  He moved forward, wincing at the energy crackling from the glass-looking shield.  He touched it and it burned, not his skin but underneath it felt like it was on fire.  "I...."  He stared at it, trying to find some slight chink, some slight imperfection.  Something that would let him in.  He reached for his own bond and it flared, and caused the shield to reach for him.  He backed up quickly and calmed himself down.  He sent a soothing thought at her, trying for some music she liked.  It echoed.  She had shut them off completely. 

He felt Natasha get to the same point he was.  Clint considered it then pulled out something Stark had been working on in secret in case they ran up against a witch that was causing problems.  He stuck it on the wall and set it off.  Dawn shrieked in pain but he got inside before the shield came back up.  He walked forward.  She was not in easy reach.  She was in fact inside another tower. 

"You're not Rapunzel," he called.  "Or Snow White."  He checked to make sure there wasn't another entrance.  He could almost feel a set of stairs but they were invisible and he wasn't sure he wanted to trust them.  So he shot another grappling arrow up and climbed up.  He slid into the window and nearly fell back out when he was attacked by the wolves in there.  Thankfully he knew how to fall from a pretty high height.  He calmed himself down and headed for the stairs.  So maybe it was about trust.  They all had trust issues.  He hadn't realized hers were that bad, but they all had them.  Each stair got carefully stepped on and felt before he put full weight on it.  By the time he got halfway around the tower, Natasha was there.  "What took you so long?"

"Centaur in the woods warning me off."

"Did he say anything about wolves or the stairs?"

"Yes.  You're on the wrong one."

"You sure?"

"He said it was made of stars.  This is her mental fall back position.  Where she goes when she meditates or has to pull back into her mind to protect herself."  He nodded and jumped down, hitting the ground and rolling to his feet.  "How do we find something made of stars?"

He considered it.  "We wait until it's dark?"

"That could take until she wakes up."

"Or we find a light switch," he said, spotting one and flipping it.  It turned into night and they could see a faint shimmer of stars making a path.  They walked along it, coming to a cave.  They shared a look and he checked then walked inside.  There was a princess bedroom in there.  Canopy bed like you saw in the _Harry Potter_ movies.  Heavy dresser, heavy wardrobe.  Bathroom that looked like it belonged on Pern with a rock formation bathing pool and a stone toilet off to the side with a pull curtain around it.  Outside the lights got flipped back on and Dawn sighed, shifting onto her side.  She pouted but stayed there.

Natasha moved toward the bed.  A faint shimmer stopped her but Clint walked through it, wincing a bit.  This shield wasn't half as strong.  He laid down in front of her.  She didn't move to cuddle like usual.  Natasha laid down behind her.  No move to cuddle her either.  He reached out slowly and stroked over her hair.  No response.  He checked where their links met, nothing.  It was like she wasn't home.  He groaned and searched a bit.  The link on her side had something shiny. 

The something shiny wasn't Dawn, he could tell it wasn't Dawn.  The something dark was Dawn.  She was hiding in the shadows.  He went in after her, letting Natasha create light for them.  He pulled her out and brought her back to where she was back in her body.  He noticed a few things that she didn't usually have.  Including some scars he had never seen.  Two vampire bites.  A few on her shoulder that he could see through her sheer blue nightgown.  He laid down beside her and pulled her against his chest, kissing the bite marks.  They disappeared.  He brushed his fingers against a cut on her shoulder and it disappeared.

Natasha moved closer to do the same thing.  She could see that they were still there and they had to go.  Dawn hated to be so marked.  "She said once that everyone has scars inside," she said quietly.

"That they didn't have to define who you were," Clint agreed, kissing Dawn instead of removing any others.  He liked her even if they were all exposed and unhealed on her body in the real world.  She shivered so he pulled her closer.  "That was way too strong of a tranq they used," he said quietly, stroking over her hair.  Some fell out and he frowned.  "'Tasha?"

"I think that's from that drugging that they had to remove from her hair.  She went from it breaking and falling out to it being healthy within a day without a trip to the salon.  Or she's worried that she'll end up like her mother was."  She stroked over it.  "Even if you were bald and sickly, we would still like you."  Dawn shivered again and shrank some.

"Nothing's going to change anything, Dawn," Clint soothed, pulling her closer again.  "Not you getting cancer, nothing.  We're still yours."  She shrank some.  "You need the mushy words?" he teased with a smirk.  "Fine.  We still love you, even if you turn into Golum, okay?"  That helped and she got back to normal size.  She relaxed some too.  "Think you can lower the shields some?"  It crackled around the bed.  "Or not."   They laid there and helped her go back to a happier sleep.  He hummed at her and she shifted, putting an arm around him.  He relaxed and it was easier.  They could help her get unsedated and then they'd talk and work things out.  She sighed at one point and he looked at her.  "Did you just pee the bed or something?"

Natasha swatted him.  "She's not an infant and she did not."  He shrugged.  "She's not the twins or Callia, who does do that."  Dawn was shivering but they held on and the bad dream went away again.  They couldn't tell what it was.  They could only tell it was bad and hurting her.  Natasha stopped him from trying to link in because it might take them too deep, they might not be able to get out again.  They needed that separation for their work and duties.  Dawn usually agreed with that. 

They laid there with her, losing track of time.  Clint kept a light link with her, letting her hear him thinking and humming.  It kept her calm.  Natasha was physically soothing her by stroking over her side or hip every few minutes.  When she started to wake up, she flinched but he pulled her closer.  "We do not make you flinch," he reminded her in her ear.  "No matter what, I'd never do anything to make you flinch away from me like that, Dawn."  He pulled back to kiss her forehead.  "Those wolves are rabid."

She nodded.  "Yeah, to attack anyone who thinks I'm a princess."

"Do the stairs lead up there?"

She shrugged a bit.  "Never went up them after I put them there."

Natasha stroked over her hair.  "We like the symbolism of you being an undercover princess.  You are not like some of them yet you have your sweet and gentle moments when you are the innocent princess sort."  Dawn ducked her head.  She kissed her on the ear.  "Though that shield is mean and it hurts."

She looked at them.  "You crossed over it?  It could've killed you!  Actually, it probably should've killed you."

"No, I used the thing that Stark's been trying to make.  We only crossed the one in here," he soothed.  "Right, Nat?"

"I did have to cross a tiny bit of the outer one but only for a second."  Dawn frowned, looking her over.  "I'm fine."

"You're not fine.  That can hurt you."

"I'm fine," she assured her.  "You can sense me and see."  Dawn shifted so she could touch her cheek, letting the magic wash over her.  Then Dawn relaxed and smiled slightly.  "See?  I knew you would not hurt us."


"Even if you're in a total rage, even if you were in a drunken rage, you wouldn't hurt us," Clint assured her.  He squeezed a bit.  "You're thinner here than you are at home."

"That happens sometimes.  Depends on why I napped."

"Stark hit you with the Hulk tranquilizer," Natasha said.  Dawn winced.  "It worked."

"That sucks."

"It does," Clint agreed.  "Then again, you proved that a lot of senior agents need more sparring time."  He gave her another gentle squeeze. "You're getting thinner by the minute."  He found why and cut the link to the shields, which made her moan and hold her chest.  "It's eating your energy and it'll end up killing you, Dawn.  We won't allow that."

She looked at him.  "I...."

"No," Natasha agreed.  "You're not allowed to lose a lot of weight from magic unless it's an emergency.  This is not."  She moved closer and touched her cheek, finding another link.  That lowered the shield around them.  She took a kiss and stared at her.  "We will talk."

"I don't know what to say beyond apologizing."

"I could've said 'hell no' louder," Clint admitted.

Dawn looked at him.  "It's...."

"No, John pointed a few things out.  I may have to pretend to be respectful but not that respectful and I'd never let that come between us.  Even if I have to guard someone like the bitch, she's not getting more than handcuffed to the bathroom."  He shifted and held her better.

"Why are you in uniform?"

He shrugged.  "Changed unconsciously I guess."  Dawn laid a hand on his face and he stared at her.  "Want me to change?"

"It's your armor," she said quietly.

"It means a lot to me," he admitted.  He kissed her and changed.  "No Avengers uniforms in bed, 'Tasha."  She changed as well.  Clint stared at her.  "You had to put on that?"

She smiled.  "I feel comfortable and safe in it so yes."

Dawn looked and blinked then got her a lacy over-robe for it.  "That way it's not sexual, just us talking."

"Sex comes later," Clint agreed, kissing her on the forehead.  He looked.  "Who bit you?"

"I had to feed Spike once so he'd heal an injury that was nearly fatal to him.  The other I was at a club and got attacked from behind while I was dancing but I got free by teleporting the two feet and then staked him while he stared in awe."  She touched her neck.  "They're gone?"

He stared at her.  "We didn't realize we were erasing them that way.  Sorry."

"No, that's okay.  They're not really good to look at."

He kissed over the area and they came back, then the others he had gotten.  Natasha did the same.  "We like you scars and all," he reminded her.  She went limp again and nodded.  "The hair thing?"

"I don't know," she admitted.  "Could be the drugs they took out of it.  It could be a subconscious worry that I'll end up on Oncology myself.  The idiots with the needles are still around somewhere."  More hair fell out.  "I'm guessing it's that."

"Even if you do, we're still here," he told her.  She relaxed and nodded. 

Natasha ran her fingers through the hair, concentrating.  It was suddenly lush, full, and healthy.  "Worries are not traumas that scar you."  She kissed the back of Dawn's neck, earning a shiver.  "I'm not usually that comforting."

Dawn flipped over to hold her.  "You comfort me all the time.  It's a quiet, peaceful sort of comfort."

Natasha smiled.  "Thank you."

She kissed her on the cheek.  "I'm sorry."

"Do not be.  I was upset as well.  I may have better control of it because I do not have anything that might explode out of my control but I was just as mad."  They laid there and talked about how to handle things and the insecurity that had caused this.  Which they hadn't seen before but they had their own versions that needed to be worked out.  Clint noticed the weight coming back slowly and gave her a squeeze, getting a confused look.  "You're getting cuddly again."

"I am?"  She looked at herself.  "I guess I am."  She nodded.  "Okay, I have no idea how that happens."

"It's your mind," Natasha pointed out.

"No one's in total control of their own mind.  Their body does a lot of it for them," Dawn quipped.

Clint nibbled on her neck, smiling at her.  "Why do you have clothes here?"

"The beings in the woods would get upset if I was naked?"

"I can see that."  He looked over.  Dawn opened the door for him.  He stared at the really princessly ballgowns.  "Nothing flirty?"

"No, 'fraid not.  Somehow I became a princess even though I'm not really one."  She shrugged and closed the door.

He kissed her neck again, right over that new scar from the acid.  "That's all right.  You'd look hot even in the poufy dresses."  He gave her another squeeze.  She was definitely gaining weight but not edging toward heavy.  Which was nice.  She was becoming more solid.  Natasha took a kiss that made Dawn grin at her for it.  "Want to go talk in the real world?" he finally asked when they had been quiet for a while.

"It's hard sometimes," Dawn said quietly, losing some of her solidness.

He gave her a squeeze.  "We know.  But it's worth it, right?"

She flipped over on top of him to stare down at him.  "It's totally worth it, Clint.  You know that."

"I didn't doubt.  I was making sure you didn't doubt."

"No, you guys are some of the best things that've ever happened in my life and I hate that it happened because Mom got sick but..."  He shut up her babble by kissing her, making her moan.  "Clint?"

"It was hell for a while, but she got better and got an excellent reward for surviving, the same as you did."  She nodded, laying down to cuddle him.  Natasha moved over to cuddle her back.  He goosed her, making her flinch.  "What did I say about not flinching?"

"That's a painful spot, not a ticklish one."

He tickled her, making her shriek and wiggle.  He smirked.  "Did I hit the better one this time?"

"Too hard," she said, swatting him but she was smiling.  "Natasha, he did that to me the first time too."

"It broke the tension," he said with a smirk.

"It would for me as well," Natasha agreed.  She took another kiss.  "We should get back before people worry that you're in a coma."

"We should," she sighed.

He nudged her.  "Fairytales beside the point it's never this easy for real people."

"I know.  Happily ever after takes a lot of hard work and compromise."

"And hot sex," Clint agreed with a grin.

"That too," she admitted.  She got up and got into her closet, finding something to put on.  Clint got up and his uniform reappeared.  So did Natasha's.  They created something for her to put on.  They stared at her.  "I need a uniform?"

"You need the armor.  There's creepy things out there and it's getting dark again.  My bow's on the dresser."  He grabbed it while Dawn got dressed.  She even put on high heeled boots, which made the two older spies stare.  "Okay," he decided.  "I like that look on you."  He walked out with her, Natasha following to make sure things were tidy and nothing attacked them from behind.  It wasn't a long hike but it was a pretty late-afternoon for it. 

The setting sun was a beautiful shade of blue and green with some darker shades being mixed in by the minute.  They made it back to the two links: his was still a cave, hers was a slimmer cave with an iron gate across it.  Natasha went back first so she could wake up and make sure they were safe.  He stared at her then kissed her.  "Let me get back then wake up."  She nodded. 

He crossed back into his own mind and made himself wake up.  Dawn was almost snoring, like usual.  She was between two melting cauldrons for what looked like a silver metal by the residue.  He and Natasha shared a look then got up to wake Dawn up.  She jumped and nearly hit her head but Natasha cushioned it with her hand.  "Morning."

She looked at the window then at him.  "It might be.  Which means we're all late for work since we're on the west coast."

"Fuck it, you're off today and I'm not sure if I have one."

"Can I curse him if you don't?"

"No."  He helped her out.  "If I don't, I'll curse him."

She grinned a bit.  "I can teach you the meditations."

He smirked.  "I'll just borrow some of yours."  He concentrated on their link and pulled them closer together, accessing it.  "I can barely touch it," he admitted, creating a tiny light.  She moaned.  He let it go and let her get back to her own mind.  He smirked.  "You were asleep on top of me and I *really* wanted some popcorn one night."  She gave him a hug.  Natasha got a hug.  They noticed she was in the same outfit they had put on her.  "Huh, you changed."

She looked then undid the illusion.  "Didn't realize I was doing that."  She looked around, then at them.  "We should probably go back to a less hidden spot."

"Probably," Natasha agreed.  They were beamed out and to a room without a door.  She looked around then at Dawn.  Dawn shrugged.  "No idea?"

"She's John's city, not mine.  I love Atlantis, she's a really great AI with a huge personality and I'm kinda hoping she and JARVIS get to talk a lot.  That way she has friends."  She concentrated.  "John's on the other side of the wall being confused."  She walked over to touch it.  He told her to rest and they'd get food to them.  They had the day off.  Stark wanted to make sure she had finally calmed down and woke up.  He also said that he had taken off the curse that Tara had applied to Fury.  She sent back a silent 'thank you' and walked away from the wall.  "He'll send us food."  She had shared the rest.

They settled in on the bed to let her cuddle in.  Cuddling was always great with Dawn.  Even if she was in a stiffer mood instead of draping herself over one of them like a warm, honey blanket.

Dawn looked up at him.  "I think you're hungry.  You're thinking about me being food again," she teased with a grin.


Dawn grinned and kissed him then realized she was wearing her phone.  She dialed the number that JARVIS set up for faxing things, getting him instead.  "Hey, JARVIS, I'd like to introduce you to a new friend.  She's a really great lady.  Atlantis, on my phone is JARVIS, who is the AI that runs the Stark International everything and Tony Stark's house.  JARVIS, I'm on Atlantis, which has a very pretty, smart, and kinda lonely AI.  I'm not sure if she has a name outside of the city's or not.  She's never told me."

"It's a pleasure to meet you," Atlantis' dulcet voice said quietly from a wall.

"It's a pleasure to meet you as well," JARVIS said from the phone.  "There's not many sentient computer intelligences down here and most of them are very young.  I do mentor them but it's not the same as an adult conversation."

The phone beeped.  "I can see that you are not as primitive as some that I have scanned down here," Atlantis said.  "That is a blessing."

"Tony, his creator, is a genius sort," Dawn said.  She got up.  "Guys, I'm going to put my phone here, near the wall and the speaker you were using, so you get some privacy."  She climbed back onto the bed and took kisses, grinning at them.  "Maybe Callia or someone will make them some sort of linking structure so they can meet in person some day."

"I'll suggest that to the geniuses," Natasha said, stroking over Dawn's back.  She switched to lay on her, earning a smile.  "I was not jealous.  I like being against your back.  You run a bit cool to the touch, where Clint is always overly warm."

"It's my sunny nature," he quipped with a smirk for her.  She smiled back.  Dawn poked him, getting a poke back from both of them.  They relaxed and went back to talking.   They hadn't had the energy to just lay there and talk since their year and a bit off hiding from the US and others.


Tony got the text message and tried to call but it came back as busy.  "I wonder who she's calling," he admitted.  "Callia, are you talking to your aunt?"

"No.  I heard JARVIS talking to her and then he was talking to some other pretty sounding lady."  She leaned out of her bedroom with her pet mice on her shoulders and one on her head.  "Lantia or something.  I didn't hear that part.  I think Auntie Dawn introduced them."  She went back to taking care of her pets.

"She introduced him to Atlantis?" Pepper guessed, looking at Tony.

He smiled.  "John said she was lonely in Pegasus and JARVIS is a great friend to have."

"He's my favorite incorporeal being," she quipped.

"He's more corporeal than not sometimes," Tony said, giving her a look.

"Yes, but on that list you're ahead of him."  She took a kiss.  "Even though we're not together I still love you, goofball tendencies, weird ideas, insomnia that drives us to sedate you while you're working with fissionables, and all."

He smirked.  "It's good you love me for my greater qualities and my lesser ones."

"All but your ego.  I can't fit in an elevator or at dinner with it."

He held his chest.  "You wound me.  I earned my ego, Pepper."

She smiled.  "Perhaps."

"No perhaps about it."  He took another kiss and then the baby to stare at.  "So, Elizabeth, how has your first week been?  Are you liking it out here?  I know you can't go back, I've tried many times, but it's pretty neat and you do have Callia to fuss over you, and Dawn when she gets back."

"You think she's okay?"

"I think she's probably calmed down.  Which is a good thing.  Though I thought it was cute that Tara cursed Fury so hard that we found out he has a girlfriend thanks to them having an accident and her being just fine."

"I thought it was nice that the curse didn't affect his new girlfriend too."  She took the baby back and put her back into her carseat/carrier.  "There, you nap.  The giant goofball geniuses will let you nap all you want to."

"Remember when we first brought Callia home and she would not sleep unless she had skin contact with someone?"

She grinned.  "I remember you wearing that baby snuggler over your bare chest so she'd quit fussing all the time."

"Me?" Callia asked from behind the couch.  She popped up.  "I did?"

"You did," Tony said, smiling at her.  "You refused to sleep anywhere that wasn't on a person.   That stomach snuggler that we gave to Pepper used to be yours.  I had to wear it shirtless so you could touch skin or else you'd scream your head off until I took off my shirt or I gave you to someone who could let you rest on skin."

"Wow.  Did you go shirtless, Auntie Pepper?" she asked.

"No.  But I did have a few sleeveless dresses I wore a lot for you.  That way you got my shoulders.  Your Aunt Dawn had a few of those and a few off-the-shoulder dresses that gave you enough skin contact too."

"Wow.  Thankfully I can sleep without that now."

"Until you're a big girl and dating," Tony teased with a grin.

"Nope.  Boys are icky and mean shits who play with poop.  I don't need one of those."  She found her missing mouse and brought it back to her room.  "You're not supposed to run away, Gruyere.  It's not nice to run from the human.  How else are you supposed to eat and drink?"

"Speaking of," Tony said, texting Maria Hill to feed the Loki cat.  He checked, Dawn's phone was still busy.  "I think JARVIS has found someone to be sweet on," he said quietly, looking at Pepper.

"Like his creator, he fell for an exceptionally spectacular woman," Pepper quipped back, getting a grin and a nod back.  She yawned.  "Let's go nap in the bedroom, Liz."  She picked her up.  "I'll be up in a bit, Tony."

"Okay."  He watched her go then texted Steve.  He was on his way over and Tony wanted a cuddle.  He was feeling mushy.  His spawn was growing up.  His girlfriend and her baby were adorable together.  Pepper had bought the baby Gucci slippers for her christening and they were wonderful with the family heirloom gown.  Tony stretched out on the couch, watching the pet mice run amok.  "Daughter, do you need help?" he called quietly.

"Please.  The forcefield I had set up failed, Daddy."

"Coming."  He got up and went to help her gather all her pet mice.  The extra one got put into a shoebox for her aunt to turn back.  Or whoever had done it.  Then he showed her how to set up a forcefield containment system for her habitat.  It was so great she loved laser applications like he did.


Xander and Phil met up that night, Phil noticing that he had a shiny new door.  He looked it over then at Xander.  "No lock against the kids?"

Xander reached over to shut it.  "No one under eighteen without parental permission," he said with a grin.

Phil took a quick kiss.  "I could like that."  He took another one and went to the kitchen.  "Talsa's so bored she made baked chicken and stuffing?"

"No, that came from Tara, who's on a guilt baking trip again."  He came over to get plates.  "You haven't seen the kids in two days."

"Tara's feeling baby envy.  She apologized earlier and said we can have them all weekend."  He looked at Xander, who was still a bit worried about himself around kids.

"I could like that."  Phil smiled and they took another kiss then sat down to eat until someone pounded on the door.  Phil got up to answer it.  "Director," Xander greeted with a nod then ate a bite of chicken.  "Coming for dinner?"

"I came to see if Summers was calm again so she could apologize for kicking around six senior agents."

"She's still on Atlantis, I have no idea where, and I doubt she'll be needing to apologize.  They should have been able to defeat her.  That's why they're senior agents, sir."  Fury mildly glared at him.  "They should."

"She beat you too."

"She teleported to get away from us so she could try to control her temper more, sir.  Not exactly the same thing.  She wanted them to wear the temper out of her and they failed even as a pack attacking her."

Xander shook his head.  "Dawn's good but not excellent.  She's probably as good as she'll ever be but we can expand her out into bladed weapons if she wants."  He looked at Fury.  "He's right.  If you have six senior agents who've been practicing these things for at least a few years longer than she has trained, then they should've been able to take her.  I'm surprised that the trio of Phil, Clint, and Natasha didn't manage to trap her better but she was in such a rage she knew she needed to get it out of her.  I heard she went to the tower and destroyed a metal wall afterward."

Phil nodded.  "She did.  Which is why they sedated her."  He looked at his boss again.  "Beyond that, why couldn't they defeat her, sir?  Is it because she's a woman?  Because that's a liability in the field.  She's not better than they're supposed to be."

"They said they were trying to not hurt her," Fury said.

Phil snorted.  "They didn't come anywhere near hurting her.  I doubt they would.  Or that a few of them could.  They need to be reevaluated.  All of the agents need it because there's been a lot of slacking.  Like the day Callia snuck through the gym and not everyone noticed her."

"They did what?" Fury demanded.

"Agent Romanoff sent you a message about that, sir.  Only six out of the twenty-something agents in the gym spotted her.  Captain Rogers had his back to her.  So did a few others, but the rest overlooked a child in the middle of a gym."  Fury rolled his eyes.  "That sort of inattention can get agents dead in the field."

"Fine, I'll do that after the olympics thing in a few weeks."  Phil nodded that was fine with him.  "Any other words of wisdom?"

"Let the CIA have the bimbo assassin wannabe?" Xander offered.  Then he stuffed his mouth again.

"That's not a bad idea and they could probably use her somewhere," Fury decided, leaving them to dinner and a peaceful night.  He ran into Stark in the hallway.  "Slumming?" he said dryly.

"No, getting a book off Dawn's shelves."  He got into the apartment, which was Natasha's, and slammed the door.  He looked around and smirked.  She had set up her living room as a weapons lab.  Apparently the kimono collection was in a bedroom.  He went up the stairs to the bookshelves, catching the cat.  "C'mon.  You can go tease the mice.  Just don't eat any of them."  He grabbed the next two books in the collection and some food, then left, locking the door behind him.  Happy opened the door for him and stared at the cat.  "Loki."

"The godly one?"

"No, Cap named him because he liked to sit on the fire escapes and stare."  He got into the car.  "He'll need a litterbox."

"He can probably use the spare one for the rabbit."  He got in to drive them to the pet store anyway.  Maybe they'd find something to keep the cat out of Callia's mice collection.

Tony walked the cat in there, holding him up.  "I'm Loki sitting."

The helper smiled.  "We can get you what you need, sir."  She led him to the cat aisles to get litter, food, a pan, and a few toys.  Including some catnip.  Tony paid and got the bags into the car.  They went back to the tower and Callia picked up the cat from where Tony dropped him.

Callia stared at the cat.  "If you touch my mousies I'll turn you into a fur rug, Loki.  My mousies are my friends, not your toys."  She put him down and petted him.  "And don't be wicked to Liz either.  She's just a baby and can't chase you like the twins do."  She dug into the bag, setting up the litter box like the pro she was at it.  Then the food got put into a paper bowl her father handed her with a grin. She got him some water in another one then found the loose catnip.  She put it down on the floor and put the cat in the center of it.  "It's kittynip.  You're supposed to like it."  The cat sniffled and nibbled some, getting down to roll around in it and bliss out.  "Wow, is that what being high is like, Daddy?"

He looked and nodded.  "Yeah, pretty much.  You'll never find the human version, daughter."

She snorted and waved a hand.  "Drugs are for weak minds.  I've got a very strong mind and I'm not damaged so therefore I don't need them."  She bounded off to check on her mice.

"Good," Tony said quietly.  "I'd hate to see what either of your aunts did if you did get high."  He finished his water and sat down to read.  Loki was hissing at the imaginary friends in the catnip but that was him being a cat he guessed.


Pepper woke up to some strange, quiet sound, looking around the bedroom she was borrowing.  She blinked at the bassinet, reaching slowly for her phone and taking a picture to send to Tony.  Loki was sitting on the side of the bassinet, staring at Liz like he was confused.  The baby was snoring so she wasn't hurt.  Maybe he was just a really curious cat?

Tony snuck in through the emergency panel and grabbed the cat to scare it.  Loki yowled.  Tony stared at it.  "No going near the baby's bed.  You could hurt her and then you'll be a mitten warmer for your human girls."  He put him on the bed.  Loki huffed and took a bath to smooth down his fur.  He looked at Liz, covering her back up.  "I don't think he did more than stare."

"I'm hoping not."  She petted the cat, getting ignored even though he did arch into her hand.  "I know you're not used to them, Loki, but it'll be okay."  She laid down and Tony grinned.  "I'm still so sore there's no way I want people to look at me."

"I know why.  She's a huge thing to push out."  He kissed her and went back to his own room, closing the emergency exit.

She smiled and settled in.  The cat eventually settled in to nap beside her feet.  It was nice having something like a pet.  Pet cats were *so* much easier than a pet Stark.

Loki watched the human sleep then went to try to figure out the tinier human again.  This time he carefully curled up around her feet and stared at her from there.  She was a bit weird, she drooled, she smelled funny, and she was pudgy.  She was not like the humans he knew.  Maybe a bath would help.


Callia walked into Pepper's room the next morning, staring at the baby.  Who was wearing a kitty on her head.  Loki was washing the baby, making Callia blink.  "I can help change her so she doesn't stink as much," she said quietly.  "Would that help her not stink, Loki?"  Pepper sat up and looked over.  The cat was ignoring everyone.  Tony walked in and took film, sending it to others.  

Callia reached in to pet the baby but Loki hissed and glared at her.  "Hey!  Not nice and she's my sibling!"  Tony picked up the cat to hand her.  "Fine.  I'll pet the kitty."  She cuddled and cooed at him.  "Thank you for taking such good care of Liz, Loki.  You're a very good mommy cat sometimes, even if you are a boy.  I'm sure Uncle Clay will be just as good of a mommy as you are."  She walked off with him to get him something to eat.

"Tuna's on the second shelf in the pantry," Tony called.

A minute later she brought it in.  "It's a machine can, Daddy.  I'm not allowed to do that yet."

"I can," Pepper said, getting up to make Loki a dish of tuna for being so nice to the baby.   "That was very sweet, Loki."  She petted him and went back to check on the baby.  "Anything hurt?"

"A bit wet but otherwise just a very happy baby," Tony said, shrugging a bit.  They got her changed and bathed then out to help the rest of them eat breakfast.


JARVIS cleared his throat.  "Dawn, that person emailed you again to check on her request."

"Thanks.  Can you maybe get us some food, JARVIS?"

"I can have some sent."

"Thank you," Clint said.  He looked at her.  "What sort of request?"

"I've been trying to figure out how to ask.  I got emailed by someone in the local Make A Wish group."  He nodded slowly.  "Did you turn them down for a reason?"

"I haven't heard anything from any of them," he admitted.  "When did they email me?"

"They said they sent a letter and got a nice turn down that SHIELD agents couldn't do that sort of thing."

"No, not my doing," he assured her.  "I would've talked to you guys about it if I had.  I know you're hyper on that subject because of your mom but I'm not sure I could handle that."

She stroked his stomach.  "Mom helped a few of the kids in her hospital with their requests.  Said it was the least she could do."  She looked up at him.  "So Fury had someone turn them down for you?"

"Apparently and I'm going to have a discussion with him about that.  I know it didn't cross Joyce's desk or she would've told me.  So what did the kid want?  It is a kid, right?"

"It's a five-year-old little boy in one of the hospitals in New York.  He saw you during the invasion and he's been a super fan since then.  They said that he's collected every single thing about you that he could.  They sent me a picture of him going as you for halloween."  She smiled slightly.  "He's an adorable little boy, Clint."

"I'm not against it, I'm just not sure I can handle it without getting seriously emotional, ya know?"

"Yeah, I get that."  She put her head back down and stroked his stomach.  "I'll send her an email saying that we have talked, that you did not get her request thanks to someone at SHIELD's PR department apparently, and that we're talking about it?"

He considered it.  "I want to.  I'm not sure I can handle seeing a little kid that sick."

"I'll tell her you're considering it."  She got up to grab her phone and send that.  "Why don't I need to charge you by now?"

"We've kept it on the charging pad," Atlantis said.

Dawn grinned.  "Thanks, Atlantis.  That's very sweet of you."  She went back to bed, smiling at the basket that got beamed in.  "Hey, food."  That woke Natasha up and they settled in to eat and talk.


Stark sent himself to Atlantis, looking around the pier he had landed on.  He looked at Sheppard and McKay.  "You're holding my PA hostage."

"The city is holding your assistant hostage," Rodney corrected.  "I think she's being charmed by JARVIS."

"He is very charming and very sweet when he wants to be," Tony said with a slight smirk.  "They can visit some other way.  We need Dawn back."

"Atlantis?" John asked.

"Yes?" she answered.

He patted her on the nearest pole.  "Stark wants Dawn and her spouses back for a while."

"We're going to make you two something so you can log in and talk to each other," Tony offered, pulling out his tablet to put up the plans.  "That way you can dial in and talk over a better connection than the phone.  It's the same size as the Roomba dog and it's just as mobile so you two can talk in a closet or wherever you want to."

"That's a charming design and we do not have sexual urges," she chided.

"Bullshit.  JARVIS likes to watch the security feed with the trio now and then," Tony said with a grin for the pole John and patted.

"I do not have that function.  That's very interesting."  She went quiet.  "I will release them.  They have done a lot of talking, she is calmer, and things are good.  She is happy and glowing like a young woman in love should by your standards."

"Your people didn't have love?" Tony asked.

"By the time I was made it was more about continuing on the bloodlines than about being in emotional statements," Atlantis admitted.  "It was nearly mechanical shortly thereafter."

"That sucks.  You should always knock up your lover the old fashioned way so you both enjoy it," Tony said.

"They had male carrying pregnancies as well," John said with a grin.

"Don't tell Roque that, he'll have to hide Clay," Tony quipped back with an evil smirk.  "Or Barton will have to take time off the team."

"Not likely," Dawn's voice said from the same speaker.  "Dawn is more than smart enough to know how to count and how to pray to the birth control goddess."

"Which one is the goddess over birth control?" Tony asked John.

"You know, I'm not sure.  Probably one of the perpetual virgin goddesses who's so damn sour because they've never had more than their hands.  Maybe Athena since she's the Goddess of Wisdom."  Tony tried not to laugh but he couldn't.  "How's the baby?"

"Great."  He smiled.  "Loki's taken a lot of interest in her.  We keep finding the cat giving her a bath."

"They named the building cat Loki?" Rodney asked.  "Isn't there some sort of mystical rule about names?  You wouldn't figure they'd do that to a beast."

"Cap named it," Tony said with a grin.  "It liked to stare at them."

"Now it likes to stare at me while I'm trying to sleep," Clint's voice said.  "So this is the pool that the dildo tentacle monsters were leading back to."

"Some of the soldiers still need that for stress relief," John quipped, walking Tony that way so they could get them out of there.  "We don't talk about the pool, guys.  It's a closely guarded Atlantean mystery."  They smirked at him for that.  "The president wondered after his spouse mentioned it but after seeing it he decided he did not want to know."

"Me either," Tony said, looking in the pool.  "It looks like it might be fun though."  He looked at the trio.  "Are you three all right?"

"We're good," Clint said, giving Dawn a squeeze since she was under his arm and hugging him.  "Fury?"

"Pouty.   Very pouty.  The probability nerd who thinks he's a computer says that we might have an attack in the next two weeks."

"Got it," Clint said, looking at Natasha, who shrugged and yawned.  He grinned.  "You're still sleepy?"

"Dawn was very cuddly."

"I do make a good cuddle helper," Dawn quipped.  "How's Liz?"

"She's good.  Your cat wants to claim her as his spawn."  They got beamed back after he waved at John and Rodney.  He pointed.  "We're having a dinner."

"I need to change," Dawn said.  "C'mon, Natasha.  I have stuff in my locker."  Her wife followed her down to the locker room.  Clint had something in the gym so he changed in there.  They came back up to the penthouse, though Natasha had to rig the pass sensor since Dawn's had quit working.  Again.  She walked off and handed Tony the pass.  "Not working."

"Again?"  He ran it under the scanner up there that he used to find out who people were when he called them up.  "Huh, says you got fired for not calling off work."  He got in there to fix it and Pepper came out to finish fixing it.  "You were off this week because we were.  I have no idea who had that brain fart."

"Probably the one in HR that we've never found," Pepper said.

"We need to get the artwork moved too," Tony said with a snap.  "They reminded me the other day."

Dawn sighed.  "I forgot.  We'll get it on the way home tonight."  Tony nodded with a grin.  "If they haven't stolen it."

"They better not have," Clint called.  "Some of those are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and belong in special storage."

"I've been looking for one.  The one with the best rating is really expensive," she said, walking out onto the patio.  She hugged Callia when she got pounced.  "Hi."

"Hi!  Did the city kidnap you?"

"It wanted to help us talk and stuff."  She kissed her on the head.  "I introduced her to JARVIS too.  They've been talking a lot."  She grinned and ran off to talk to the baby again.  Dawn walked over.  "Hey, Liz."  The baby blew spit bubbles and groaned.  "I remember Callia making those noises.  She always seemed very happy."  She kissed her on the head.  "You'll learn to love all of us."  Pepper grinned.  "Some year I'll give her a playmate."

"Whenever you want," Clint said in her ear, making her look at him.  He shrugged.  "We're letting you decide that."

She smiled and stroked his cheek.  "That's very sweet."

He grinned back.  "Whenever you're ready to quit being so flirty...."

She snorted.  "Not likely."  She goosed him and he grinned as he walked off.  Dawn strolled over to talk to her mother, who was hugging Callia and the twins.  "Hi, guys."  The twins smiled and waved then got back to telling Joyce things.

"Why did Uncle Xander have a pony at the temple?" Joyce asked.

"Maybe one of the Valkyries had theirs down?" Dawn guessed.

"Maybe," she decided, getting her own hug.  "Are we all right?"

"We've done a lot of talking, Mom, and we're good."

"Good."  She brushed hair off her daughter's cheek.  "Now, why did I get a warning that you were going to destroy my boss this time?"

"I didn't say I was.  I'm highly disappointed but not near destruction range.  Someone sent back a denial letter for Clint to Make A Wish without asking him."

Joyce winced.  "That probably went to PR.  I'll talk with them."  Dawn grinned.  "Is he?"

"He's considering.  He's not sure if the harder stuff will be okay."

"I get that.  You could take him when you go to see if he can handle it."  She brushed Dawn's hair back behind her ear again.  "Are you sure you're all right?"

"I'm fine, Mom."

"Are you pregnant?" she hissed.  "That was very mood swing like."

"No.  I started last night," she admitted.

"Maybe we should see why you're so out of whack then."

"Maybe," she agreed.  "I hadn't thought about that.  I'm not due for a shot for another two weeks."

"Hmm."  She gave her a one-armed hug.  "Your sister is feeling miserable."

"Because it's twins or because of the fighting preterm labor thing?"

"Mostly that."

"I'm wishing her luck and sending up nightly prayers to the goddess that she gets a bit further along before she delivers.  The later the better."  Joyce nodded.  "Callia had a few hellish months in there where she was born so early."

"I remember.  Did you ever find out who did that?"

"We figured it was NID.  As far as I know no one went looking.  Hey boss?"  Tony's head turned and came up since he was talking to Callia.  "Did you ever find out who had that one delivered so early?"

"I did."

"NID?" Dawn asked.

"No.  Actually it was a crackhead that used to work for SHIELD.  NID was funding his research so they could both have a hold and their own super being."  Dawn frowned.  "They had a version of the super soldier formula that would've probably killed her."

"Great," she said.

"Me?" Callia asked.

Tony looked down and nodded.  "You, yup."

"Why?" she demanded, starting to tap a foot.  Her hands went to her hips.  Everyone smiled because that was so much like her mother's pissed off look.

"Right before you were born, someone kidnaped your mom so they could keep you," he told her with a grin.  "Your Uncle Xander found you and destroyed that person very hard."

She smiled. "Good!"  She went back to fussing over Pepper and Liz.

"I'm okay, Callia.  Calm down."

"You had a baby.  That's worse than having an appendix out and better than Grandma had so therefore you get more fussing than the scientist that had her appendix out suddenly and less than Grandma got."  She got her something to drink and nibble on, carefully carrying each over for her.  Then she sat next to her auntie and stole the baby to hold.  "There, now you can eat." 

She grinned at the baby.  "We need to bond like the people on tv say.  That way you love me like the twins do.  We bonded with them very early and they're neat and like siblings too.  You'll learn to like them because they're getting very smart.  John likes to try to read and Melissa is a coloring champ."  She shifted and Tony helped her arrange the baby easier.  "Thank you, Daddy."  She grinned.  Joyce snapped a picture.  She grinned.  "That's Grandma Joyce.  You can probably call her that too even though she's not really your grandma.  She makes a really good grandma and she even adopted Uncle Xander, who will tickle you if you don't watch out." 

The baby blew another spit bubble.  "You'll like him though.  He's very good at reading stuff and he explains things like Daddy does.  He never treated me like I was a baby.  Probably because he doesn't understand babies very well but that's okay.  It makes him special in his own way."  She adjusted the baby's hat.  "Then there's Grandpa Brucie, who's also Grr Guy, but he'll love you too.  He protects all us kids.  Even when we mess things up in his lab by helping he never gets mean about it.  So if you color on his math homework like I accidentally did it'll be okay."

"Those things happen around kids," Bruce agreed, smiling at her.  "Just remember that your paper is in the filing cabinet now."

"I will, Grandpa Bruce.  That's where Daddy keeps mine too."

Tony nodded.  "Because she used to color in the bomb and weapon plans on me.  Everyone thought it was great she stayed in the lines and all that.  I got told it made them easier to read too."

Bruce smirked at him.  "I'm sure it was.  She's excellent at coloring.  The same as Melissa is.  I'm wondering if that's a girl vs boy thing."

"No, I think that Melissa might need some help," Joyce said quietly.  Tara winced.  "Not that she's very far behind, Tara."

Xander appeared with Phil.  "No, she needs glasses," Xander said.  "She squints at everything."

"She does?" Tara asked.  Phil nodded.  "Why didn't you tell me?"

"I only noticed it after he did."  He created a mirror of what Melissa did that day.  She squinted to see what things were and then played with them.

"Can you get glasses for kids that young?" Maria asked.

"Yes.  The eye doctors have shapes instead of letters on charts for kids that young."

"I'll have to find one that takes our insurance," Maria said.  "That way we can fix it before she falls behind.  No wonder she likes being read to but she hates books."

Tara sighed and nodded.  "I didn't even realize."

Phil patted her on the hand.  "It'll be fine.  Lots of kids need glasses."

"They do."  She kissed him on the cheek.  "Tony rescued the trio."

"I can see that."  He smiled at them.  "We better, people?"  They nodded.  "Then why is Fury worrying that Dawn's going to stab him?"

"I'm not that upset with him and I'm not even sure if it was his decision or someone else's," Dawn quipped.

"Someone sent a nice letter back to a kid that SHIELD agents didn't do Make A Wish visits," Natasha told him.

Phil shook his head slowly.  "Bullshit."  Melissa flinched and looked around, turning to protect the grandma and brother.  He sighed.  "Sorry, Melissa.  It's not a huge problem.  Relax.  We'll protect your brother and grandmother for you."  She smiled and waved in his direction then turned back around to get back to babbling.

"She is very protective," Maria agreed, smiling at the little ones.

"Nearly as good as I am," Callia said.  Tony took the baby from her.  "Hey!"

"You shifted too far and she was going to fall.  Besides, it's my turn to bond to the baby, daughter."

"Oh, okay then."  She kissed Pepper on the cheek and ran over to the twins.  "I'm going to read."  They smiled and followed her to her books.  John helped by showing her words he knew.  She praised him and helped Melissa with her words too.  Maybe whatever those glasses things were they'd help her learn words better, because you couldn't do much without words.  Even science stuff took words and math.

Bruce smiled at the kids then at Tony and the baby.  "I still can't imagine you wearing Callia in a carrier all over the labs, Tony.  Even though I've heard the stories."

"Did you hear about him almost taking her into the radioactive lab with him?" Dawn asked dryly.  "He just didn't realize why Pepper was stopping him from going in to stop the shit going on.  Put on the radiation suit with her on his chest and didn't realize. Or that he was still shirtless."

"Daddy said I had to have skin to snuggle up to," Callia said, looking over.

"You did.  You would not sleep without being able to touch someone.  I swear sometimes you used to quote my homework back at me at night."  She giggled and swatted at her auntie then got back to reading to the twins.

"It was that early exposure to history, calculus, and economics that made her so smart," Tony agreed with a smirk.  "Bruce, I even did interviews shirtless because if I put her down she fussed.  For the first three months after she got out of the hospital, she had to have skin contact.  She would not lay down in her bassinet or crib.  She would not let you lay her on the couch.  Nothing. 

"I kept getting nagged by Dawn because I took her into the shower with me instead of doing the tiny bath thing for her because she wouldn't let me.  Dawn used to get in babysitting time by locking them in an office and going shirtless so Callia wouldn't fuss at her.  If she had to have Callia and be seen, she wore these off-the-shoulder knit dresses for her.  She had baby hickies for months on end from it."  He shook his head.  "Liz is not going to be nearly as demanding as mine was."

"All geniuses have quirks, boss," Dawn quipped.

Joyce smiled and patted her husband on the hand.  "Bruce, not even I could calm some of that down.  She went weirdly silent whenever she visited me in the hospital.  Once she got handed back to Dawn or whoever she was back to being greedy for skin contact."

"Thankfully, California is warm," Dawn said dryly, smiling at them.  "Otherwise she wouldn't have come out of the house during the winters."

"I don't remember seeing those in your earlier wardrobe," Natasha said.

"Once Callia got past that stage, we made her donate them," Pepper said.  "They all looked kind of slutty and not really corporate enough, even with a jacket."

"How long did I do that for?" Callia asked.

"Three and a half months after you finally came home," Tony said with a smile.  "Then you switched to a nudity thing.  You complained and screamed whenever we made you wear more than a diaper and a t-shirt."

"You should've gotten me leotards.  They make things like that for babies," she said dryly.

"They're called onsies for babies," Dawn said.  "And you wouldn't wear those either."

"Really?" she asked her aunt, who nodded but smiled.  "Wow, I was fussy."

"You grew out of it," Dawn said with a grin.  "All the quirks mean that we love you more."  Callia ran over to get a hug then went back to reading to the twins.

"Now we know if our future kids end up weirder than I am, they're going to be geniuses.  It'll mean we can save up for their school costs," Clint quipped, sipping his beer.

Dawn smirked.  "I think I have that covered."  He stared at her.  "I do have an educational expenses trust fund set up for my future spawns.  From any of us.  So if someone takes your DNA and makes you a mini clone, we can afford to send them to school too."

He grinned.  "Never even thought about someone doing that."

"Aliens did it to O'Neill," Pepper quipped.

"They found evidence that the same alien was looking at Dawn," Tony said dryly.

Dawn grinned.  "I heard and cackled so hard.  I could use a clone.  That one can go to MIT like you wanted me to, boss."

"Sure, I'll plan on that," he agreed with an evil smirk for her.  "How's the language degree?"

"I'm taking this semester off again.  Things are going to be too hectic and they know I'm auditing an online class this semester."

"Fine."  He waved the hand with the grill tool.  "We're expecting to hear about that soon."

"Sure."  She looked at her mother.  "He said I have to walk for my next one and it's in Rio."

She smiled.  "Rio is supposed to be pretty but dangerous."

"They're trying to clean it up for the olympics in a few years," Natasha said.  "But we would guard you."

Dawn nodded with a grin.  "We can do that.  I might even visit that store again so I get more hot clubbing clothes."

Clint finished his beer and walked over to kiss her.  "No, you can't."  She smirked at him.  He sat down and pulled her into his lap.  "Being a dick tease is one thing, Dawn.  Being an evil dick tease is a total other matter and we don't want to watch people try to kidnap you again."  He gave her a squeeze.

She looked at him.  "You did the same thing in Rio after we saved those kids."

"I did.  It made sure that no one took you from us."  He grinned.  "I'd notice if you got stolen from my lap."  Joyce was snickering.  "Don't even," he warned.  "She got taken twice in three weeks and only one was planned so we could rescue those kids.  One she was sitting next to us by the hotel pool.  Her, then me, then Natasha.  They still managed to sneak her off.  The other they tried to take her from the club we were celebrating in."

"It did seem like each time we turned around Dawn was missing," Natasha agreed.  "I nearly got her a collar and leash set."  Dawn stuck her tongue out at her.  "It might have helped."

"I doubt it.  Besides, they mostly thought that I needed their version of a real man instead of the one I have because they said he growled too much."  Clint was growling again so she snuggled back into his lap.  He quit so she grinned at him.  "Just think, if you hadn't decided to hide at the sex club that night, things might've been a bit calmer."

"You three were together and you went to a sex club?" Joyce demanded, staring at Clint.

"With their permission because they showed up later to taunt me," he complained.  "Natasha dressed her up like an innocent virgin again and it was bad enough that half the club offered for her first time."  Joyce moaned and shook his head.  "I was tracking a problem person.  I was actually there for work, not fun, Joyce.  They would've skinned me if I had went there for pleasure."  Dawn and Natasha both nodded.

"Guys, there's kids who don't need to wonder about those words," Pepper complained.

"Sorry," Dawn said.  "That is how we found out about the cultists taking kids though."

Clint nodded.  "It was.  Still nerve wracking."


"A cult?" Phil asked.  "I have not heard more than incidental things about that."

"We destroyed them to the cellular level," Dawn said dryly.  "And no, you won't be."

Xander created a mirror and spun it back, pausing it and then looking at Dawn.  He showed her what it was and she giggled, shaking her head.  "Damn."  He let Joyce see when she leaned over.

"Dawn, dear, you look like a hooker.  More than Buffy did in high school," Joyce complained.

Dawn grinned.  "I was distracting the sniper."

"Yours?" Phil asked, leaning over to look.  He almost blushed.  "No, clearly not."

"No, Patterson wanted her," Clint said dryly.  "Which is why he's still limping and complaining we're mean."

Dawn patted the arm around her waist.  "Just a bit, dear.  Though it was nice he told you who hired him to hit who and why he was in town."

"It was, yes.  He thought we were there about that, not about him stalking her around Austria for six days."

Xander shook his head.  "I thought that was long haired Xander's luck."  He went back farther, finding a few more slutty outfits, some sex he sped extra hard over, and then Rio.  He blinked, staring at the outfit.  "Wow, more than damn."

Phil leaned over and did blush this time.  "Please tell me you cut that off her?" he asked Natasha.  Who could be a bit possessive when she wanted to be.

"If that's the blue one, no.  It's in the closet.  The red one got ruined when she got captured, as planned," she said to ease Joyce's scowl at her daughter.  "So we could find where they had those children hidden for religious purposes."

"That night we went to the club up here, the FBI guy I danced with asked me about that," Dawn said with a grin for her.

"I did not know anyone realized it."

"Well, the guy in charge was a whacked out biochem, speciality drug designer," Dawn said dryly.  Tony looked over.  "I don't think you've ever run into him, boss.  He found my old ID in my wallet and sneered that you were ruining engineering for everyone.  His brother sold weapons and was an external supplier for Ten Rings?"

"That's who captured me in Afghanistan," Tony said quietly, looking at the two assassins.

"So hard," Clint assured him.  "Him, all his people, in a way that made cops down there mourn for their sanity."

"Thanks, Barton.  I knew I liked you for some reason," Tony quipped with a smirk for them.  Clint pointed at Dawn.  "Why?"

"They had me hostage!" Dawn complained.  "Took me from beside the pool.  I didn't want that thing touching me and telling me I needed a better man.  Puh-lease!" she said with a hand wave.  "I told him how my girlfriend was better than he'd ever be at being a man.  He made the mistake of getting mad and hitting me.  Pity."

Tony walked over to hug her.  "I like you too."  He went back to the grill.

"That's how we found out where she had been taken that time," Clint assured Joyce.  "Which is when she ended up being lap candy for the rest of our time down in South America."

"It had been meant to be a short vacation," Natasha admitted.  She shook her head.  "If we go back down there, you're wearing something very massive and sparkly so they can't fail to see the claim mark."

"I'm liking the collar and leash idea," Clint said.  Dawn elbowed him hard enough to make him groan.  "Or maybe one of those kid backpack leashes?"  She got him again.  He gave her a squeeze.  "What did that jeweler want anyway?"

"To have his brother paint me covered in some of his designs."  She smiled.  "I let them do pictures but nothing else since they paid me very well for it."  She shifted to look at him.  "I'm surprised you didn't see it at that club. It was at the apex of the staircase where it split."

"You had on a carnival mask, Dawn.  That and about three mil in jewels.  I couldn't tell it was you.  Though, tasteful enough I suppose."

"Actually more than that.  The piece over my bikini bottom area was that much."

Natasha shivered.  "I saw that picture.  I did like the way that you showed so well under the rubies and sapphires."  Dawn grinned at her.  "It was very moving."

Tony and Pepper both pulled out their phones to look up that picture.  Natasha got her onto the club's site and let her find it.  They bragged that it was an original by one of their members.  Pepper shivered.  Tony looked over her shoulder and whimpered.

Joyce strolled over.  "Nice composition," she said, smiling at her daughter.  "Tasteful yet erotic.  Nice job, dear."

"Thanks, Mom.  Only took him an hour to set it up.  There's about six in that series but he decided he liked that one best."

"I do like that one.  I'd never let anyone see it but I do like it."  She went back to kiss Bruce on the cheek, earning a smile.

"Hey, John?" Pepper called.  He appeared.  The baby John squealed and waved.

"Hey, namesake."  He smiled and waved back.

She smiled.  "Dawn's kidnaper in Rio did a picture of her.  She made him not paint it."  She showed him.

He nodded.  "I know him.  He does nice work.  Has some of my earlier works."  He grinned and kissed her on the head.  "I should get back to that hobby."  He smirked at Dawn.  "If so, I'm coopting you and Pepper both, and then getting Joyce."

Joyce blushed but shook her head.  "I'm in no means a model, John."

"There's a beauty in surviving and strength, Joyce.  You're still a vital, strong, sensual woman."  He disappeared to get that picture and show Rodney.  It'd make his brain quit running in circles.  Which he needed because his mind was stuck in a bad thought loop.

"I find your beauty to be fairly glowing.  I always feel like I should have sunglasses so you don't burn my retinas with it," Bruce said in Joyce's ear, earning a blush and a sideways smile and look.  "If you do, it's not going anywhere anyone else can see it but me.  That way I can use it to inspire new ideas that will lead to new space exploration to find the stars that I spotted full of women who're only half as beautiful as you are."  He stroked up her arm.

She kissed him.  "You're very sweet."

He smiled.  "Not always."  She cuddled him.  He settled down in a chair and let her have his lap.

Xander looked at Phil.  "He's good," he said with a grin.

"Very but I'd never expect such mushy things from you."  Joyce pinched Phil, making him smile.  "I wouldn't."

"Xander has his sweet and mushy moments," she assured him.

Tony was watching it feeling kind of left out.  Pepper would never let him do that.  Not be that mushy in public, not let her sit on his lap.  Steve would be blushing if he wasn't asleep on the couch thanks to Callia keeping him up all night babbling about Liz.  Though it was sweet that Tara and Maria were sharing a lounger side-by-side and Tara was slowly inching to grab Maria and put her on her lap.  Phil went to help the twins.  He hadn't gotten much kid time with them recently, though Xander looked a bit upset.  He had heard Xander wasn't comfortable around the kids after having lost a family way back when.  They'd have to work that out soon.  Coulson was the very overprotective father stereotype.

Dawn looked at her husband.  "Do you think you'd mind if I crush on the guy that's playing you in the movie?"

"I think we had a talk about you and your stalkerish habits around Egypt," he said dryly.  "Why?"  She pulled over Pepper's phone since hers was dead, getting into a video to show him.  He stared.  "He even kinda looks like me."  He watched it and yeah, he could crush too.  "No stalking?"

She elbowed him.  "I'm not like that.  I was stalking that guy around the market because he was a jackass and I wanted to beat him to death for yelling at his daughter for daring to want to be pretty by having a hair barrette under her hijab.  She was like six and there was no reason for her to not have a Hello Kitty hair barrette.  It was fully covered.  No one but the family would see it.  Guys like that piss me off majorly and I had PMS that week."

"I remember.  And that Natasha ended up beating him."

"For not letting her have a barrette.  They are not un-Islamic.  It wouldn't have showed."

"I still say we send all the airheads over there," Pepper said.  "Let them remake the Middle East into their own world so they don't have to put up with those of us who think."

"We have an assassin and a witch that can go first," Dawn quipped with a grin.

"Don't remind me," Joyce complained, pushing her short hair off her forehead.  "I have never seen such spoiled things as the dogs I had to puppy sit since she was in custody.  They didn't want to drink out of a plastic bowl.  The water had to be cold or they knocked it over.  They carefully aligned themselves around the living by the principles of Feng Shui.  Seriously!  I looked it up since each of them carefully picked a spot after a half hour of sniffing around and would only sleep in that spot or sit in that spot.  She taught them to arrange themselves by Feng Shui."

"She needed the special energy boost to get over the stupidity," Dawn said.  "Seriously."

Clint poked her.  "We do the same job."

"Um, no, dear.  You two take out bad guys who do bad things to the world.  I researched her hits.  Half of them were paid by ex's or someone.  The other half were socialites she had arguments with.  Including her former bestie."  She gave him a look.  "If you were that shallow, Natasha would've put you out of everyone's misery a long time ago."

He nodded.  "Yeah, she would have if I didn't."

"Also, she missed and simply injured four of them.  One of them was the one who realized who it was that shot her because she spotted her really bad dye job of the moment."

"No, I'd clean up if I left that sort of mess," Clint assured her, giving her a squeeze.  "Remember, you only have to see their sort at Stark events."

"Actually, she could start going to a country club," Pepper said.  "I doubt she'd like it."

"Probably not," Dawn agreed.  "Sounds boring.  It's not the sort of club I'd like to get down at."

"Very true," Tony agreed with a smirk for her.  "Read Forbes this week?"

"No.  Am I in Forbes for some reason?"

"Yup," Callia chirped, looking over at them.  "Daddy giggled so I read it over his arm with Cheddar helping.  They wanted to know who you were since you had made a pretty little fortune as they called it and yet no one knew who you were outside of our assistant and my auntie.  They were wondering if it was a dowry from Daddy or something."

"No, I can honestly say most of it came from my paycheck and poker," Dawn quipped.  She looked at Tony.  "That bad?"

"Small article wondering."

"I'm nowhere near rich enough to end up in Forbes," she said dryly.

"Dawn," Joyce sighed, looking at her special younger daughter.  "No more poker."

"Yes, Mom.  They made me quit anyway.  It means I have to find weapons some other way."

"You got plenty from Lavelle," Natasha said patiently.  She was looking up that article online.  She read it, blinking some.  It got handed to Clint, who read it then looked at Dawn.  "How?" she asked.

Dawn took it to read, then shook her head and handed it back.  "Poker."

"Not entirely," Tony said.  "I got nosy when I read that.  Poker and wise investing by your investment person was a large part of it.  As was some sort of payment from Saudi?"

She blinked, looking confused.  "When did I get a payment from over there?"

"I don't know," he admitted.

She sighed and looked up.  "JARVIS, can you please put up my account summaries?  That way I can figure out where it came from?"  It got displayed in front of her.  "What is that?" she asked with a point.

Maria Hill came over to look.  "Are you funneling money?"

"No.  Not that I'm aware of."  She did the steps necessary to lock that deposit for research and then another one she found.  She found the one from Saudi and laughed.  "Natasha, they paid me instead of you, dear."  She let her see that entry.

Natasha snorted and waved a hand.  "They took you.  It's your reparation."

"Um, huh?" Tony demanded with a grin.

"Found the guy that wanted her so hard," Clint admitted.  "Looking back his younger brother had taken her for two days.  Hid her in the desert so he could woo her properly and do the ritual things so they could be married when he got back.  When we got there, he was sobbing greatly that she had stabbed him, had rendered him unable to have children because he was not fast enough in showing her how to get water in the desert, and had claimed his horse as hers."  Tony whimpered, shaking his head.

"Talk about a dumb bitch," Dawn muttered.  "I was not happy he had taken me hostage to the desert.  I was very much out of my element."

"I remember logging in that he got injured," Phil admitted.  "They weren't sure why but that it might be related to a weapons deal gone wrong."

"Um, no, it was a proposal gone wrong," Dawn said dryly, shaking her head.  "Do women actually like that sort of thing over there?"

"Not that I'm aware of," Phil said.

"Me either," Xander said.  "You only cut him those two places?"

"Oh, no, he started on a 'why don't you want me, I'm a beautiful prince' speech so he wasn't anymore by the time I got done with him.  I totally lost my patience with his BS."

"The photos that got passed on were not nice," Phil agreed.  "You did a great job, Dawn."

"She did," Natasha agreed.  "He begged me for mercy when I told him she was mine."

"Which is why he should've paid you," Dawn quipped.

"He kidnaped you, it's yours," Natasha said firmly.  "I don't need more money, Dawn."

Dawn looked at her.  "So you want me to pay more taxes?"

"Yes."  She smiled.

"Fine.  If we figure out how I'm supposed to be filing."

Clint gave her a squeeze to distract her.  "Research those other ones so we can find out who did it."

She got into that and found it.  "Huh.  Why are you sending me money through Dubai?" she muttered, getting into the name that had sent it.  "Oh!  The guy!" she said, smiling at Natasha.  "The one in India."

She blinked a few times.  "I was there for that?"

Clint rested his head against the back of Dawn's with a slight groan.  "She gave him huge ideas when he was complaining about his company in public.  We were having lunch, waiting on you, and she looked over to tell him that people didn't need that, they needed other things.  Especially around India.  Including water filtration and greenhouse style growing areas for families that couldn't grow on their lands.  She suggested that hiring all female staff would get him good press and good relations with a lot of people, plus there were many of them looking for work, especially widows.  She went over how US companies dealt with single mothers when he said it wasn't going to work for them.  Including on-site daycares."  He looked at Natasha.  "He apparently took her ideas to heart."

Dawn finished looking him up, smiling.  "He does some really great work and he's expanding to teaching computer repair classes to some of the kids so they can find jobs."

Tony looked at the display, nodding.  "I heard about him.  He's not bad.  Doing some good work even though he's not sure why.  He hired some of Mari's relatives to develop some genetically modified crops that would withstand the heat better.  I heard he was about to be bought out by a major US company."  Dawn stared at him.  "Yeah, a subsidiary of ours to bring their GMO crop people into ours."  Dawn grinned.  "So I'm guessing we cut you in for the profits from that."  He called his team over that to see.  They sent him an email about why Dawn was getting royalties and how much she should expect.  He handed that to Dawn and walked off shaking his head but smiling.

"Aww, he gave me five percent of the company for my help that day since it turned the company around."  She sent him an email through the team and thanked him, but said she didn't need it.  He should keep it so he could start the next great company.  He sent back a 'thank you' and said he'd leave it at what she had.  She smiled and handed the phone to Natasha, who sent it to Tony through Pepper.

"We're so checking for high pheromone output," Xander said, staring at her.

"I thought about that when I got the tiara.  Clint said I couldn't be because I didn't get the title too."

He nodded. "Bullshit and there's lesser versions."  He went home to ask how to test.  Then he came back with a small travel bag.  He poked her finger and did the test.  "Huh, not high."

She sucked on her finger.  "Who knows then."

"We call it Dawn luck," Phil said, patting his husband on the back.  Dawn shook her head, erasing her financial statement and cuddling in again.  Callia pounced them and cuddled in beside her.  Dawn smiled.  "Bored?"

"Wanted to see how nice he cuddled.  I'm setting up a rating so I can rate boys when I finally have to date someone."  She smiled.  "You cuddle very nicely, Uncle Clint."

"Thanks, Callia."  He ruffled her hair.  "You don't have to date if you don't want to."

She smiled.  "Then I'll never have babies."

"You have *years* before that's even a possible thought to have," Dawn assured her with a grin.

"Okay, if you're sure."

"I'm certain.  You won't be able to actually have one until you're fifteen at the very earliest and it's best if you wait until you're out of college."

"I should, yes."  She snuggled in and yawned a bit.  "I'm tired for some reason."

"That's because you were up all night talking about Liz," Tony said.  "Go nap with Steve."  She got up and went to do that.

"I was wondering where he was," Tara said with a grin for him.

"She babbled at him once he got back last night, about seven or so," Tony said with a smile for her.  "Kept him up until nearly noon babbling about how great Liz is."  He looked and spotted something.  "No wonder Steve named you Loki," he said.

Clint looked back.  "He does like to stare, yup.  Especially at anyone who touches Nat or Dawn."

"Actually, I think he picked you as his favorite human," Tara said.  "He stares at you so much because you're his.  If they were his humans he'd stare at them."

Clint looked over.  "He only stares when I'm touching them."

She smiled.  "I've had a few cats.  He's staring because someone is touching his human.  Which is you.  He watches you eat breakfast, and you give him pieces now and then."

"To try to make him more friendly."

"He's very friendly," Pepper said with a smile.  "He spent the last few days licking Liz's hair because she needed a kitty bath."

"He's snuck over to get Nat a few times," Dawn admitted, looking at her.  "Then he was washing Clint when you got him off your hair because he was nibbling."

"He did give his whole head a bath the night he took the cold medicine."

Thor landed on the deck, putting his hammer on his belt.  "Glad tidings, family."

"Glad tidings," Dawn said.

He spotted the cat, tipping his head to the side.  "I know that is not my brother in a new form."

"Steve named him after your brother for his staring," Tony said dryly.

"I asked to make sure, he just glared at me for it," Clint said with a grin.  "Then your brother showed up to say he wasn't a cat and sneezed at it."

"Yeah, dad is allergic to cats," Xander agreed, then grinned.  "I think there's a pound that could use his support in DC."

Phil patted him on the arm.  "No more mean thoughts I can't cure with the kids around," he said quietly.  Xander grinned and kissed him.

"It is good that you two worked things out," Thor said, smiling at them.  "It makes my father quite blustery that he knew all along that you would."

Xander looked at him.  "Still mad at them for the forcing stuff."

"As I would be."  He looked at Liz.  "You are very tiny.  I saw pictures of Sean when he was born to the warrior Hylal.  He was much bigger, as most Asgard children are born."

"Most human ones are born around six pounds," Dawn said.

"Hmm, very tiny."  He patted her on the foot with a smile.  "You will grow up with sense, like your mother."  He looked at Pepper.  "Felicitations on her birth, Pepper."

"Thank you, Thor.  She's a special little girl already."  She smiled.  "Sit and hang out with us."

"Aye, I will."  He sat down to talk with the twins.  They adored him the same way Callia used to.  He looked at his nephew.  "They should have a rabbit as well."

"We have a cat," Maria assured him with a smile.  "They don't need another pet, Thor."

"Fine.  Though cats are sneaky and might teach them thus."

"Too late.  I'm hoping the cat makes them less sneaky," Tara said.

Thor smiled.  "They have learned well from their second mother?"  Maria smiled and nodded.  "Then that's fitting."  He settled in to tell them how his goats were.  They loved to hear about his goats.  Melissa wandered off so he looked confused at them.

"She's having a girl day," Tara said.

"Ah!  I know naught about girls.  That is why it makes no sense to me."  He finished the story for John, who was patting him.  John gave him a hug and a kiss on the nose then ran after his sister to pounce her into a wall.  Which made her cry.

"I'm right here," Tara said.  Melissa ran over, letting her kiss her booboo.  "Be more gentle, John."

"Sorry," he said, hugging his sister.

"Okay," she said, pushing him off and scowling.  "Grounded!"  John fussed but looked pitifully at her.  "No!  Grounded!"

"Only we can tell him he's grounded and it was an accident," Tara said firmly, staring at her daughter.  "He is not grounded."  Melissa pouted.  "You're getting too spoiled, daughter."

Phil snapped and pointed in front of him.  "Melissa."  She walked over pouting.  He squatted down to talk to her quietly.  She nodded and sighed but walked over to hug her brother and then went back to hang out with him for a while.  He smiled at Tara and Maria.  "I said she could stay with us tonight."

"Want them both?" Maria asked.

"No, Mommies!" John shouted.

"Okay," Phil agreed, smiling at him.  "You can spend some time with us later."  John grinned shyly and curled up on Maria's lap to cuddle her.  He picked up Melissa to hold her, getting cuddled too.  "Want to nap?" he asked her.  She shook her head. "Okay."  He let her cling to him for a bit.  He had missed the kids.  Things had been horrible at the office for the last few days so he had a lot of late nights.  He hadn't even gotten to see Xander for a few days.  He'd have to make some decisions soon because he wasn't going to give up his new personal life for work.  The kids and his spouse were too important for that.  Xander stroked his back.  He looked at him.  "Work's been hell."

"It happens," Xander agreed.  "I had the same thing during apocalypse season before."  Phil smiled at him.  "We'll handle it.  We have time."

"I know."  He sat down to let Melissa cuddle into his lap since she was falling asleep.  Xander sat on the next one over.  It was comforting and nice.  Dawn was yawning and so was Clint.  He smiled.  "Is she putting you to sleep too, Barton?"

"As Natasha said, she's very cuddly," he quipped back.  Dawn pinched him.  "You are."

"Food's nearly ready," Tony announced.  "Give it ten minutes, people."  They nodded and Steve finally got woken up in time to pull down plates for everyone.  They ate and the short nap recharged the kids, who ran around shrieking at each other playing knights and dragons - with Callia being the dragon.

"If I'm a dragon I'm one like Uncle Jensen," she crowed.

"I think you'll make a great geek support dragon," Dawn quipped.  She had been filming it and sent it to Jensen, who sent bad a sad smiley face.  She asked why.  "Uncle Jensen said knights don't chase his sort of dragon, only the mean ones.  So they have to be groupies, guys."

"Groupie?" Melissa asked, smiling at her.

"People who stalk and really like certain stars and things."

"Oooh?" John asked.  Dawn smiled and nodded.  "Ooh!  Groupies and dragons!" he squealed and went back to chasing Callia with that.  Natasha had taped that from the talk and sent it to him, making him happier.

Roque appeared with the dogs and Jensen.  "Here, have something to pet," he said, handing Jensen to the kids.  He left again.

"Hi, Garnet," Callia cooed and waved.  The wolf stared at her.  "It's okay.  Have you met the twins recently?"  She pointed.  "They're like Uncle Xander's puppies too."

Garnet sniffed then sat down beside Xander and Phil.  "It's good, Garnet.  Puppies, play nicely," he ordered.  "No plate mooching."  They ran with the kids.  Hellion hopped up beside Pepper to cuddle her and beg nicely.

Pepper looked at him.  "Hi, Hellion.  I don't have anything to eat."  He licked the baby.  "No, you can't have Liz.  She's too young to play."  Hellion licked her foot again then nudged her closer to him so he could curl around her.  "Aww, are you protecting the baby?  That's so sweet, Hellion."  She petted him.  "Good boy, Hellion."

Tony looked at the huge, slobbering dog.  Then at Xander.  "He's very much like you only you drool less."

"Yes I do," Xander agreed.  Marble came rushing over to bark at his mother, who huffed but got up to come play.  "No biting, Garnet.  At all."  She looked back then went to chase the kids around.  She could herd them back toward the puppies so they could catch them.  They were less slippery than elk or caribou.

Thor watched, smiling.  "She is doing good teaching her pups how to herd and harry game."

"She is," Xander agreed.  "That's why I warned no biting.  John took her home last night so she could harry and herd the scientists on Atlantis."  Dawn snickered, shaking her head.

"Daddy, don't forget to build that thing for JARVIS and Atlantis," Callia quipped.

"I remember.  I'll get started on it tonight, daughter."  She grinned and hugged him then went back to chasing the younger four puppies around.  "Is that cuddle tag?"

"Yup.  I catch them, I get to cuddle them."

"Um, no," Xander called.  "No forcing cuddles on the dogs, Callia.  It can upset them."

"Yes, Uncle Xander," she sighed.  "I'll just pet instead."  Not that she was having much luck.  The dogs were really fast today.  Hellion growled at Ruby when she came over to sniff the baby.  "Thank you, Hellion.  Good boy to protect my sibling."

Tara smiled, holding Maria's hand.  "She does good as a big sister."

"She does.  Pretty soon she'll be old enough to babysit," Maria teased with a smile.

Tara nodded.  "Some year soon."  She snuggled closer.

Maria decided they needed to have a talk that night.  Because it was clear they were thinking the same thing.

Xander looked over and smiled, shrugging some.  He wouldn't stop their plans or disagree with them using Phil's stored sperm.


Maria let John down.  "Go potty and start your bath."  He ran that way.  She pulled Tara closer to kiss hard, staring at her.  "If you want another one, we'll do it during the next celebration.  I'll be there and if I can I'm going to do it for you," she said quietly, staring at her.  "Either with the new squirty toys that you found online that we both wondered about or if we need to do a warm one, we'll have Xander and Phil there and I'll be helping."

Tara blushed.  "Do you think the squirty toy would do that?"

"I think so.  I can check.  We'll do it during the celebration in the woods."  Tara shivered, moving closer.  She kissed her again.  "That way he or she is all ours, not just yours and Phil's."

"They love you too."

"They do but I wasn't there for their conception.  This one will be *our* baby together.  Not that I love them any less."  She petted over John's head since he was hugging her leg.  "They're still my kids, but this one will be *ours*."

Tara smiled and nodded.  "Okay."  She gave her another kiss.  "Get Melissa something to wear?"  She smiled and nodded, doing that while Tara took John to give him a bath.  She was wondering if the choker that Dawn had, the one that changed forms, could do that instead.  That way it was their baby for real.  That would be so great.  She'd have to ask.


Xander leaned Phil against a wall once Melissa was tucked in, kissing him.  "I think Tara and Maria decided to have another one tonight."

"I'd love that.  You know that."  He pulled him closer.  "Would that bother you?"

"No.  I'd get to be there for a lot of the stuff so we could bond, and maybe that'd help.  I don't know."

"I know."  He took another kiss.  "We'll figure it out together."  Xander smiled.  "Bed?"

"Bed?" he teased with a grin.  "Why would we want to go to bed?"

"Because I haven't been rubbed, stroked, or touched in days," Phil quipped with an evil smirk.  "Neither have you."

"One of the trainees tried to grope but he got smacked for it."

"Good."  He walked them into the bedroom and tossed Xander onto it before taking off his shirt.  Xander grinned and got rid of his clothes with a flash of powers.

"I'd do that but I keep sending my clothes to Dawn's apartment for some reason.  Haven't figured that one out yet."  He finished stripping and climbed in with Xander, snuggling in to kiss and cuddle him.  When Melissa got up they put on boxers and let her climb in with them.  Once she was asleep she went back to her bed and they went to sleep too.  It was good and nice to have everyone where they should be.


Maria found Phil in his office the next morning.  She came in after knocking and getting told to come in, then turned and locked the door.  He blinked up at her.  "Tara's.... we've decided to try for another one at the next celebration."

He smiled.  "Xander and I thought you might.  I'm going to be just as hands on, Maria."

"I know.  You can make sure I don't lose my mind in the delivery room."

He laughed and pulled a folder out of his bottom desk drawer.  "I had it stored here."  He handed it over.  "How were you going to do it?  Do I need to make a fresh donation at the clinic?"

"We were going to the celebration.  I'm.... well, we found...."

He held up a hand.  "I've seen those.  Dawn was wondering about them one day too.  You might ask the doctor about that to see if he'll cooperate but if that's what you want then so be it."  He smiled.  "I hope it takes easily."

She blushed.  "She's apparently fertile."

"She is."  She blushed harder.  He smiled.  "We'll be helping and fussing, all that."

"Thanks."  She left with the folder, tucking it into her bag to take home.  Fury was out there bothering the admin team and gave her a strange look.  "Something for Tara, sir."

"Her workroom need updating again?"

"Um, no.  Something for the next Wicca holiday celebration."

"Oh, fine."  He got back to nagging that person about his video game usage.  Did the junior agent think he wouldn't see  him playing Galaga or whatever?

Maria schooled her blush and willed it away, going to find the form to write that agent up again.  Joyce held it up with a smile.  "Thank you."

"Welcome, dear."  She patted her on the hand.  "You two will make a great set of parents for the newest one too," she said quietly.

"I hope so."  She went to hand Fury the form and then back to her duties.

Joyce smiled, marking down a few things in her desk journal.  When Fury walked past she looked up.  "You have six missing things that are due in soon."

"I thought I did them."

"If so I haven't seen them coming back out."  They went to look together.  She'd worry she was getting forgetful but she hadn't had any other symptoms and there was no way that she had gotten more of that serum.  Fury found them under his desk mat and signed them, handing them over.  She smiled and took them to inter-office mail.  Though she needed to schedule a follow-up soon.  She texted Bruce to see if he thought she was being forgetful.  He said it was a side-effect of the medicines she was on and hopefully they'd get to cut back on them soon.  That was sweet of him.  He had also scheduled her follow-up so she got to do that paperwork.

Fury looked at it then at her.  "Some special occasion?"

"Doctors.  My next set of scans."

"That's fine."  He signed off and handed it back.  "I hope there's still nothing there."

She smiled.  "You and me both, sir."  She went back to her desk, writing that on her schedule for the future.   Her paperwork went into the folder with all the other leave forms.  She checked then looked over.  "Maria?"  She came over.  Joyce pointed at a form.  "The rumors state he hasn't shown up."

"Hmm.  He was supposed to let me know if he needed more time off."  She walked off calling his desk, which was forwarded.  "Patricks, Hill.  How long am I extending your leave for?"  She listened.  "That's bad.  When did that happen?"  She made a note.  "Agreed.  I'll do the long term leave forms today.  That'll give you an extra month... two is good, yes.  I can do that.  Send me the legal notice and I'll include it.  If you had called I would've done it yesterday but I'll backdate it for you.  Oh, him.  Apparently he didn't learn after his broken arm.  I'll make sure he does learn this time, Patricks." 

She pulled out the form.  "Let's go over this."  Joyce handed over the other one.  She read it quietly and nodded.  "All right, I'm signing your name for it and putting my initials to make sure he knows.  I'll hand it right over.  You let us know if you need anything, personally call me this time, Patricks.  Good man and I'm sorry."  She hung up, taking it into the main office.  "He just got custody of his little sister.  He thought his sister was but the judge ruled her unfit due to her bipolar disorder being uncontrolled by medication," she said quietly.

"That sucks," Fury agreed, looking it over and signing off.  "Why didn't he file it?"

"He did through his supervisor, who didn't learn when I broke his arm for thinking he didn't need to go to his mother's funeral."

"You have fun with him and see if someone wants to help you this time."

Maria gave him a pointed look.  "I don't need help.  I went easy on him last time, sir."  She walked off.  Joyce took the forms to take down to HR personally while Maria went to have a talk with that supervisor again.  Or fire him, one of the two.

Joyce smiled at the HR assistant.  "Is Delilah in?" she asked quietly.  "It's personally private for an agent."

"She's in her office, Joyce."  She smiled.  "Bad?"

"For an agent, yes."  She walked in there after tapping on the door.  "Maria did the form for him.  His supervisor tried to block him going to his mother's funeral the other day."  She handed it over.

She read it over.  "That poor man.  That's fine, Joyce.  I'll file it for him."  She smiled.  "She could handle it."  Joyce pointed at his ranking.  "Oh, he's one of the covert people so she can't get into their files.  That's fine."  She smiled.  "Is he going to be okay?"

"He just got custody of his sister."

"That sucks large," she said.  "We do have a great parent's group if he needs it though.  I'll send him a brochure from them."  Joyce smiled and left it with her.  She put the leave notice into his file and adjusted his pay check for that.  Thankfully he had some leave time built up and some stored for catastrophic incidences.  She found that brochure and sent it to him.  He'd probably need some support.


Xander had been hanging out to talk to Pepper and Liz.  Pepper was worried because they got another death threat from that church.  Xander was being all guardian stud.  At least until someone tried something stupid at the temple.  Then he took her and the baby with him.  He carefully handed her to Cougar then walked over to where Clay was yelling at one of the trainees.  "I heard my name invoked in a 'damn it, come kill him' way?" he quipped.

"I can kill him," Clay assured him.

Xander smiled.  "Until you have your own temple, it's my fun."  He looked at him.  "What did you do?"

"I was helping one of the agents to get better."

"By nearly raping him?" Clay demanded.

"Excuse me?  I didn't hear that part," Xander said, looking at Clay.  "I heard trapped another trainee in the potting shed and he had a panic attack."

"Oh, no, that was after he nearly raped him.  Apparently the guy was too tough and he thought they might get caught so he put him in there, knowing he had panic attacks from enclosed spaces, and was going to come back later when he was weaker."

Xander nodded, looking at the trainee.  "Do you have any explanation other than that?  And do be aware that Yellow Furs and Gods can tell when you're lying."  The man backed away from him.  "Okay.  Clay, let's get him to Fury.  He's one of his.  He can decide if the pack rips that one apart.  Where's the victim so I can get him to medical?"

"I took him," Roque said from behind them.  He was staring at Liz.  "At least you're not messy like your big sister."  Xander smirked at him.  "Callia was a drooler."

"She's too young to drool yet.  They okay?"

"I took him to Lam at the base.  I didn't want him anywhere near the SHIELD people until this one was taken care of.  She's got him well in hand."

"Good."  He took the guy with him and Clay.  He slammed him into the desk.

"What is it with you people and destroying my desk?" Fury demanded calmly.  "What did this one do?"  Clay told him.  He looked at him.  "I don't want him."

"You want to have him arrested or do you want us to kill him for you?" Xander asked.

"For all I care, you can send him to a zoo and let the lions rip him apart," he said.  "Unless your pack wants him, Colonel?"

"We'd never touch tainted meat like that, sir."

"Then I'm all for the lions.  We can process it as a training accident so his family gets his insurance."

Xander smirked.  John appeared, looking unamused.  "Problems with the city?"

"Not really.  Found a few of your swim team though.  It's been driving Radek nuts trying to figure out what they were.  Your dad was with the president on his tour and he identified them.  There was a ton of face-palming."  He looked at the crying idiot.  "Can we feed the mermen so they go away again?"

"They might leave him living or turn him," Clay said.  "We don't want this one coming back."

Xander smirked.  "Give me two minutes."  He searched and found what he wanted then took the agent with him.  He tossed the man into the crowd then disappeared with most of the rest of the group, leaving illusions.  He put them down a few blocks off and shooed them off.  The rebel army took out the crowd that was still there then Xander went to take them down.  That worked.  He went back after taking a picture of the agent's head.  He handed it to Fury.  "Took out a rebel group in Central America.  They were getting the whole village.  It let me get some of them away from the group."

"That's a really good reason for him to die for," Fury said, doing that paperwork.   "Where?"  Xander wrote down the town and what he knew about it.  That got a nod.  "That's a bad problem.  Thank you."  Xander smirked and went to the base to tell the victim.  Fury looked at Clay.  "Next time, call and I'll find something more devious and deadly for them."

"I liked the lions idea too," Clay admitted, cracking John up.  "Let's get back, John.  Xander was guarding Pepper and Liz."

"I wanted to see the baby anyway."  He took him back and smiled.  "Hey, Liz.  I rubbed her back when you kicked the mommy."  He took her to hold.  "Aww, you're adorable."  He smiled.  She groaned and squeezed her fist a few times.  "That's very advanced, sweetheart."  He cuddled her.  "Pepper, want walked up to the temple so you can sit?"

"I'm okay.  I've been sitting a lot."  She smiled.  "She's a sweetheart.  Callia and Dawn's cat won't leave her alone at all."

John smiled.  "Cats know who is a good soul."  He gave her the tour since she wanted to stand up for a bit.  The baby slept on his shoulder and it was good.  When she got tired he brought her home and helped her tuck Liz in then tucked her in.  Steve was watching but looking amused.  "Xander had to bring them to the temple to answer a call from an agent going terminally stupid."

"That's fine.  We're just worried because we got new death threats from that church."

John smiled.  "I'm going to talk to them myself soon."  He patted Pepper on the arm.  "You rest."  He disappeared to DC, looking at Loki.  "That church is nearly moving again."

"I am not supposed to do anything to them," he said blandly, looking at John.  "Beyond that, I thought my son was going to have fun with them."

"Xander wouldn't stop at destroying them.  We want them fucking miserable, Loki.  So fucking miserable that they disband and go find another group to hide in and maybe find some reality too."

"Having them together is of benefit," he noted.  "That way you know where all the imbeciles are."

"They threatened Pepper's daughter."

"Is she my grandchild?"

"No.  Not from what I felt."  He stared at him.  "Dawn shielded her magic fairly well.  She's a mid-level witch."

Loki considered that then stiffened.  "The timing is suspect," he said dryly, staring at John.  Who shrugged.  "Interesting.  And probably future signs that the child will need a strong bodyguard and spouse.  Very well.  I'll do some of my more *subtle* blessing work."

John smiled.  "Thanks.  Keeps me from just smashing them in the church."  He disappeared.

Loki considered how much misery he could cause that church without making it disband.  He could be very subtle.  Starting with their utility bills going sky high due to leaks and the like.  The water leak itself would hurt the foundation of the church building and the parking lot, which would be nice when it turned into a sinkhole in a few weeks.  Xander appeared to hiss in his ear then disappeared again. 

Loki smirked.  His son had some very wicked ideas.  Yes, those termite things would be wonderfully placed.  Especially on the altar and it's all wood special things.  Loki nearly shivered at the subtle evil feedback he was getting.  Plus the nice people he was impressing would like that subtle destruction.  All those higher ups who met in Switzerland once a year to decide world policy were very worthy friends of his to have.


Phil looked up, tracking the powers he felt.  Xander told him what it was and he could agree with that, adding some of his own ideas to it.  He went up to talk to the boss.  "You know that Blandenburg Group that meets yearly in Switzerland, sir?"

"I've heard of them on some conspiracy sites."

Phil looked through their link to Immigration.  Then at the security cameras out there where they met.  He turned the monitor back around.  "Last year's meeting."

Fury looked then at him.  "Loki's getting in good with the group that conspiracy sorts think really rule the world?" he asked.  Phil smiled and nodded.  "That is one hell of a long range plan and wouldn't give him total dominion but it would give him a lot of power."  He considered it.  "That's nearly evil."

"Right now, he's being evil to that group that Dawn's suing.  He was thinking how pleased they'd be that he was being subtle."

"I'm sure they will," he agreed smugly.  "Thank you, Coulson."

"Welcome, sir."  He left, going to have a few cookies in reward.  Maria had the bag of cookies from Tara and handed him two.  "Thank you, Agent Hill."

"Welcome, Agent Coulson."  She smiled as he walked off nibbling one.  She was close enough to have heard and that was a very subtle plan by Loki.  She could almost appreciate the sneakiness.


Xander looked up at the knowledge of what his father was doing and shrugged.  "I'd still have to stomp them, people.  It might make sure humanity isn't protected."  He went back to talking to the trainee agents about faulty people like earlier.  They understood why and John was scanning them to make sure there weren't any more of them.  One got a glowing dot above his head; they could talk to him later.  Did SHIELD really need people like him around?


Dawn walked in with the daily mail, almost all opened.  "Here you go," she said, handing them and a glass of juice to Pepper.

She looked at the only sealed envelope, which was from her mother.  She settled in to read that one.  "Anything happen today?"

"I felt a bunch of power being sent at that church.  Otherwise, nope."

"Good."  She smiled.  Clint came off the elevator.  "New problems?"

"Baby present."  He handed it over.  "From me and 'Tasha.  Admittedly, she shopped."

"She has great taste," Pepper said with a smile.  "You have excellent taste for being with her and Dawn."

"Yes I do."  He kissed Dawn then pulled her closer.  "Can you take your shot early?"

"Yes I can.  Why?"

"Because it took me a while to figure out why you felt different last night.  You're fertile."

She winced.  "I shouldn't be."

"'Tasha said to pull some hair for a test."

"I'm doing that."

"It's five, go stop the doctor before she leaves for the day, Dawn."  She took Clint down there to do that.  She smiled at Liz.  "Some day she'll have one of you and be the world's fussiest mother.  She'll hold that record until Callia has one."  She went back to reading her mother's letter.

Dawn walked into the infirmary.  "Hey, Doc, I need the BC jab today."

"You're not due for over a week, Summers."  She came out pulling on her jacket.  "Why tonight?"

"Because girls taste different when they're fertile, doc," Clint said, giving her a pointed look.

"There's no way.  Not with both types you're on."  Dawn yanked some hair to start in testing.  She had seen it done often enough.  Doctor Pigalli came over to do it for her and found the birth control shot in the cabinet.  She came back and jabbed Dawn with it.  "Condoms, Barton.  Unless you want a baby?"

"Whenever she's ready."

She looked at him.  "Why is it my decision?"

"Because you'll have to do most of the work and get all the spoiling."  He grinned.

"Good point.  It'll be my backaches and gas pains."  The machine beeped.  She looked at it and burst out laughing.  "Oh, dear."

Clint looked then at the doctor to translate it.  "That's three different fertility drugs.  Barton, use the really thick condoms."

"I can do that, Doc.  Can you send us a printout tomorrow so we can track who's doing it?"

"I can do that."  She handed it over.  "Have fun, kids."  They smiled and left.  She threw out the needle and sent an email up to Stark.  Who came down to see the test results for himself.  She handed them over and walked off.

"That's a serious desire to have a baby from Dawn.  Usually they only have to use two of those for non IVF fertility treatments."  He walked off looking up how hard it was to get those.  Someone seriously was getting his foot up their asses.  He wasn't going to lose Dawn to maternity leave.  He'd never find anything or make it to meetings.


Clint and Dawn walked in together that night, Clint having the pharmacy's bag while Dawn had dinner and dessert.  "We got it," Dawn said.

"How much?" Natasha asked, seeing the multiple boxes in the pharmacy bag.  "We need that many?"

"Three drugs," Clint said, kissing her.  "All fertility related."  Natasha winced.  "She got her shot early."

"Good!"  She took a kiss from Dawn and her box of dinner from the restaurant up the street they liked to go to.  They settled in to eat and figure out how she had been dosed.  Natasha had searched the house when Clint had realized it.  She hadn't been anywhere that would lead to her being dosed without her knowledge, like a spa where it was in the steam treatment.  She took a kiss and cuddled Dawn once she was done eating.  Clint was still eating so they could lay there and cuddle and talk.

"I can't figure out where," Dawn said.  "Unless someone slipped it into my coffee at work?"

"Probably not," Natasha said.  "I've never seen them given in pill form.  In liquid form but not something you could swallow.  I've heard of people using it in steam baths."  Dawn shook her head.  "I know, which is why it's odd."

"We don't have the same things routinely enough to have them be noticed," Clint said.  "Maybe something at Stark?"

"It has to be something there since Natasha said she didn't find anything," Dawn said.  "But what?"

Clint considered it then had Tony get the needle from earlier to test.  Thirty minutes later he got back a 'they switched it' message.  He showed her.  She shivered.  Tony's next email said he had informed the doctor and she was livid, and would stick Dawn in the morning.  To not have sex tonight.  "I guess we can just cuddle."

Dawn smiled.  "Isn't that what oral sex is for?"

Clint smirked evilly.  "Yes, it is."  Natasha chuckled and it was going to be a great night.

The End.

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